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Future Internet 2013, 5(4), 568-579; doi:10.3390/fi5040568
Article

The Citizen as Issue Specialists in a Changing Media Environment

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, 105 S. State St. RM 5348, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA 2 Department of Strategic, Legal, Management Communications, School of Communications, Howard University, 13306 Burkitts Road, Fairfax, VA 22033, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2013 / Revised: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 1 November 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
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Abstract

Although recent research suggests that the selective nature of new media helps foster issue specialists, little empirical evidence has been documented, mostly due to theoretical and methodological limitations. Extending the concept of issue publics, the present study proposes a method to estimate the degree to which an individual is a specialist- or a generalist-type citizen. Applying the method to the 2008 American National Election Studies data, the study reveals various characteristics of specialists and generalists. The results indicate that specialist-type citizens are positively associated with online news use, but negatively associated with conventional news media, such as television, newspaper, and radio. The implications of the growth of specialists as well as the validity of the proposed method are discussed.
Keywords: specialist; generalist; new media; traditional media; issue publics; issue importance specialist; generalist; new media; traditional media; issue publics; issue importance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jang, S.M.; Park, Y.J. The Citizen as Issue Specialists in a Changing Media Environment. Future Internet 2013, 5, 568-579.

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