«An Entrance for the Uninterested: Who Watches Soft News and How Does It Affect Their Political Participation»

As soft news shows in television present politics in an entertaining format, they are likely to attract and grab the attention of people who do not have a high interest in politics. Consequently, soft news might mobilize these citizens to engage in politics. This study tests this potential by using a 2-wave panel survey among a national sample of voters (N = 2,680) collected in relation to the 2015 National Election in Denmark. The results show that people with lower political interest were indeed more likely to increase their use of soft news during the election campaign and that, as a consequence, these low-motivated people also increased their passive participation, such as seeking additional information about the election. Further, the results show that this type of passive participation is likely to function as a stepping-stone to active forms of participation, such as attending political events or contacting politicians.
By Kim Andersen (Centre of Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark). Mass Communication and Society, 2019. DOI 10.1080/15205436.2019.1585544 Full article here.