IDP2016 (IX). New Media, Citizens & Public Opinion

Notes from the 12th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Building a European digital space, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 7-8 July 2016. More notes on this event: idp2016.

Communications on New Media, Citizens & Public Opinion
Chairs: Joan Balcells

Fragmented audiences, fragmented voters?
Carolina Galais González, Postdoctoral researcher, UOC; Ana Sofia Cardenal Izquierdo, Full professor, UOC.

Does digital media exposure benefit small parties?

  • Equalization hypothesis: low cost, lower barriers, no gatekeepers.
  • Fragmentation hypothesis: small parties offer specialized, issue-oriented interests, fragmenting audiences, eroding big parties’ niches.
  • The undecided have higher chance of switching to small parties after exposed to online propaganda?

    TV usually plays a role in favour of big parties, while websites does it for smaller ones.

    As satisfaction with government decreases, the impact of websites increases.

    Old media have a concentration effect, while online media reinforces options for smaller parties.

    Dissatisfaction increases the effect of Internet.

    Trust in political institutions: Stability of measurement model in Europe.
    Lluis Coromina, University of Girona; Edurne Bartolomé Peral, University of Deusto.

    To what extent has the economic crisis changed the levels of trust in institutions? Is trust in institutions relying on the same factors prior and during the crisis? Are there differences across countries and time on the effects of those factors?

    H1: political trust is expected to decrease in countries more affected by the crisis.
    H2: There is no longer a trend over time for the predictive factors of political trust.

    Structural equations model where political trust is related with satisfaction with or trust in the Parliament, the legal system and politicians.

    Most long term predictor for political trust tend to be stable across time, even in the countries where the crisis has been more acute. The strongest predictors for political trust are generalized trust, interest in politics, satisfaction with economy, with government, age and education.

    Audience brokers and news discoverers: the role of new media in the digital news domain.
    Sílvia Majó-Vázquez, Ana S. Cardenal, UOC–IN3; Oleguer Sagarra, Pol Colomer, Facultat de Física, Universitat de Barcelona.

    Dire transformations in mainstream traditional media, with strong shifts towards the digital domain. But new digital outlets are being seen as central actors? To what extend new digital outlet control brokerage relation in the audience network? Is media brokerage still held by a handful of outlets?

    The research will compare media networks with audience networks. Authorities are node that contain useful information on a topic of interest. Brokers are news providers that have higher control in the flow of news.

    There is a clear positive correlation between media reach and the authority score. This is true for both traditional and new digital media. Traditional ones still are placed in the highest positions of authority, but are being quickly contested by new digital media.

    Traditional media are still monopolizing the centrality within the audience network, that is, they still are central brokers.

    So, native digital media challenge the power monopoly once occupied by traditional media, but these still control the flow of information.

    Digital skills and gender gaps in Europe.
    José Luis Martínez-Cantos, Postdoctoral Researcher, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

    Digital skills are required for handling new ICTs, are multifunctional and complex, and are one of the most important factors of the emergence and persistence of unequal opportunities in the Information Society.

    Have there been any significant gender gaps in digital skills in the European Union? Have they reduced?

    Yes, there are differences and the gap is bigger in the least generalized (because less people have them) digital skills. That is, the higher the level of digital skills, the bigger the gap. And, indeed, the gap has not varied much along time.

    Consistently, the more advanced is a country in digital development, the more advanced are also their men in digital skills and, thus, the bigger the gap with their women.


    12th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2016)