The next generation of news consumers: Children’s news media choices in an election campaign

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Children of all ages are more likely to use electronic sources of information such as television and radio-than they are print sources-such as newspapers and magazines-according to a variety of studies. This study examines whether this tendency continues if the children are forced by their primary and secondary school teachers to use multiple news sources-of their own choice-to follow an election campaign. Based on responses from an extraordinarily large sample of 24,348 children, this study focuses on media use by participants in the Kids Voting USA civics education program. Study results demonstrate that even when seeking campaign information in 1994, a non-presidential election year when the emphasis was more on state and local races, children overwhelmingly preferred television and radio as sources of information. Newspaper usage trailed both electronic forms even when a child's family subscribed to a paper. The study found no significant difference between White and non-White children in their choices and uses of information sources. The large sample size also allowed for a detailed look at often neglected subgroups such as Native American children (n = 1,114) and Asian-American children (n = 768).


Copyright 1997 Taylor and Francis

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Publication Title

Political Communication

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Simon, James & Merrill, Bruce D. (1997). "The next generation of news consumers: Children’s news media choices in an election campaign." Political Communication, 14(3), 307-321.