Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Habel, Philip

Abstract

Research has demonstrated a positive relationship between consumption of traditional news media and engaging in mainstream political participation including voting, donating money to a political campaign and volunteering for a political campaign. Significantly less attention has been directed toward understanding how new media, including websites, social networking sites and blogs, may affect political participation. Data from the 2008 Pew Internet and American Life Project is used to analyze the relationship between traditional news media, radio and new news media and different forms of political participation, including traditional participation, unconventional or protest participation and those who engage in both, called heavy participators. Results suggest the importance of new media for political participation. Although traditional media had no significant relationship with any form of political participation, those who reported new media as a more important source of political information were more likely to engage in traditional participation relative to non-participation and heavy participation relative to non-participation, mainstream-only and unconventional-only participation.

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