Using Panel Data to Study Political Interest, News Media Trust, and News Media use in the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Susan Vermeer*, Sanne Kruikemeier, Damian Trilling, Claes de Vreese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

During times of crisis or instability, citizens are more reliant on news media as a source of information. We need to better understand which news media people consume, how it changes over time, and whether two important predictors of news use–political interest and news media trust–affect news use during times of crisis. Specifically, we investigate the reciprocal dynamics between news media use, political interest, and news media trust in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyzing survey data from two waves from the Netherlands (N = 907, with a baseline just before the outbreak of the pandemic), we find that both traditional and online news use, based on self-report measures, increased in the first phase of the public health crisis. Our findings lend general but mixed support for the reciprocal dynamics between news media use and political interest. Interestingly, the results indicate a reciprocal relationship both for use of and trust in non-mainstream news websites and use of and trust in social media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-760
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume23
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • cross-lagged models
  • news media trust
  • News media use
  • political interest
  • survey‌

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