What is information about the media

Uli Bernhard / Marco Dohle / Gerhard Vowe

How are media used and perceived for political information?

Online and offline media in comparison

What is the significance of online media compared to traditional media for political information and communication in Germany? And how are they assessed with regard to their suitability for political information, their reach and their political influence? Answers to these questions are provided by the results of a telephone survey among the German-speaking population aged 16 and over. Respondents were asked to indicate how often they use different online media (news sites, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) as well as two traditional media (television and newspapers) to find out about politics. As a result, television proves to be the most widely used source of political information, followed by newspapers (daily / several times a week: TV 81%, newspaper 64%). Internet news sites such as spiegel.de rank well behind (32%), while social media offers only play a marginal role. Television is also the most important source of political information for 16 to 29 year olds, followed by internet news sites and newspapers. How suitable do the respondents consider the various media for political information? A good three quarters consider newspapers and television to be suitable, while only a few consider Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to be suitable. However, the youngest age group, up to 29 years of age, consider news sites to be slightly more suitable than television, and newspapers do the best here too. How do the respondents rate the political use of the various online and offline media by others? Television and newspapers are perceived here as the most widely used media for political events, with more younger than older people ascribing a large political reach to these two media. When it comes to assessing the political influence of the various media, the respondents attribute a significantly higher political influence on the German population to television and the press than online media. When asked about the perceived political influence on themselves, the respondents estimate the media effect on themselves to be much lower than the effect on others. All in all, the classic mass media for the political information of the population in Germany are still dominant, in all age and educational groups. However, the new offers on the Internet are also used - albeit to a very different extent - for political information

MP 2/2014, pp. 159-168

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