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New article on media repertoires, selective exposure and political polarization in Eastern Europe

The Illiberal Turn team has started off 2022 with a new study published in the International Journal of Press/Politics, using a media repertoires approach to investigate selective news exposure and polarisation in four Eastern European countries.

Using a combination of population surveys, expert surveys and qualitative interviews, the paper identifies five distinct media repertoires in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Serbia, based on how open people are to counter-attitudinal sources. According to this, 29% of the respondents in the sample are “selective” news consumers, but there are significant cross-country differences, with the more selective news repertoires more prominent in countries characterised by higher levels of polarisation.

Furthermore, the study finds that the selection of news sources is in line with people’s electoral (and to a lesser extent ideological) preferences, even when it comes to counter-attitudinal sources, as exposure to these can reinforce attitudes, and potentially contribute to polarisation. Qualitative data also highlight the influence of environmental factors (e.g., family), and suggest that selective news consumption is associated with normatively different conceptions of media trust.