Not So Distinct After All: Assessing Social Stratification of News Users on the Web

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Studies in journalism and cultural sociology have long identified differences in the types of news consumed by people from diverse sociodemographic backgrounds. Relying on population surveys, they have primarily found readers or viewers of popular news types such as tabloid newspapers to be vastly different from those of so-called serious types, notably broadsheets. This article contributes to this debate in two ways: first of all by studying social stratification of online rather than offline news users, and secondly by using digital trace data rather than self-reported questionnaires to document patterns of consumption. Taking Danish news websites as a case in point, the article analyses the relationship between news use and three key sociodemographic characteristics: age, gender, and education. Departing from theories of social stratification, the article formulates three hypotheses about the distribution of Danish news users and then analyses web usage across a national sample using commercial audience data. The results show that Danish news users display more similarities than differences across sociodemographic groups, suggesting that social stratification is less prevalent than prior research indicate. In conclusion, the article discusses these somewhat surprising results in relation to the study design and theoretical contributions.
Original languageDanish
JournalJournalism Studies
ISSN1461-670X
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2018

ID: 208690615