Alternative media's readers do not rate established media

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Published April 4, 2024 at 1:23 p.m.

Media. The part of the Danish population that uses alternative media does not turn its back on traditional media. On the contrary, they seek news from ordinary daily newspapers to a greater extent than the rest of the population. Nor are they less educated than others, according to a new study from Aarhus University.

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– The survey does not support the idea that users of alternative media isolate themselves in so-called filter bubbles, where they are not exposed to content from established news media, says Miriam Kroman Brems, author of the study and PhD student at the Department of Media Studies and Journalism at Aarhus University.< /p>

She points out that this is in line with results from previous studies of users of alternative media carried out in both Germany and Sweden.

The study is based on a representative sample of the adult population in Denmark and examines the use of both left-wing and right-wing alternative media and its users.

− The results suggest that users of both left-wing and right-wing alternative media also ideologically leaning more to the left or right than the rest of the population. However, the study does not indicate that users on average take extreme ideological positions, says Miriam Kroman Brems in a press release.

The survey shows that the use of alternative media is more widespread among men, among the older part of the population and in less privileged parts of the country that are geographically far from the center of power.

− Something that may come as a surprise to many are that the survey shows no clear connection between the use of alternative media and level of education. In other words, alternative media seem to appeal to people of all educational levels, says Miriam Kroman Brems.

The survey also shows that users of alternative media have a strong interest in politics.

– It is interesting, because it is a characteristic we normally associate with the ideal citizen of society.

The study shows that users of alternative news sources do not fit the stereotypical image of “extremists” who isolate themselves in their own ” filter bubbles”.

− I would say that in the Danish context there is no cause for too much concern. The result must be understood against the background of the special nature of the Danish media system, where there is generally high trust in news media, a strong public service tradition and where the public debate gives way to what can be perceived as extreme views, says Miriam Kroman Brems.< /p>

She continues:

− Thus, we can also expect that the picture will perhaps look different in other countries where, for example, public trust in the media is lower, where there is not a similar strong public service tradition and where what are perceived as extreme views are excluded from the public debate.