The Process of Learning from the News Media: A Meta-Analysis

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Flynn, Margaret M
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The current study aims to survey the landscape of theoretical and empirical research relating to how individuals learn from the news media. Learning from the news has been a consistent and robust area of focus throughout the many years of media research (Jeffres, Atkin, & Fu, 2011). However, recent upheaval in the mediated news environment has caused questions to arise regarding whether this area is in need of theoretical evolution. Additionally, many of these perspectives have never been subjected meta-analytic review. It is because of these concerns that this study undertook the task of collecting, recording, and analyzing much of the research pertaining to how individuals consume and learn from the news. Theories of agenda setting, framing, priming, uses and gratifications, selective exposure, and several additional concepts were included in the analysis. Results indicate that classic notions of the impact of interpersonal communication and motivations hold true even amongst more recent work. Additionally, findings demonstrate the greater need for explicit measurement of knowledge amid the framing and priming research traditions. Ultimately, this work offers several prescriptions regarding the measurement of news knowledge and the overall news consumption process.