Stephanie Edgerly is an associate professor with a specialization in audience insight. Her research explores how features of new media alter the way audiences consume news and impact political engagement. She is particularly interested in the mixing of news and entertainment content, how individuals and groups create and share news over social network websites, and how audiences selectively consume media. Recent research projects focus on exploring how different individuals understand and make sense of the news media landscape. This includes a project examining how young adults define and distinguish news in creative and diverse ways, and a project uncovering different patterns of news exposure among U.S. adults and how this relates to levels of political and civic participation. Edgerly is currently working on a series of research projects identifying the factors that shape judgments about “fake news” and the various strategies people employ for verifying news claims. She is also involved in a multi-year study examining the political and news socialization of adolescents and young adults.
This study explores political learning among young adults during the 2016 U.S. presidential primary elections. We are interested in how the rise of digital and social media is affecting the ways young adults learn about political events as they happen. Using a rolling cross-section survey design, we surveyed a unique sample of American young adults every day for a period of 3 weeks. This method allows us to ask participants about breaking news events as they occur, and to connect knowledge of current events to self-report of media use during a very short time period. We examine the relationship between media exposure and political learning using both self-report media exposure measures and measures of the volume of attention to political events in the news media and via social sharing of news on Facebook. Results suggest that social media volume, not self-reports of exposure, was key in providing young adults with the opportunities to learn about politics during the 2016 U.S. primary season.
This study extends past research on the relationship between news use and participation by examining how youth combine news exposure across an array of media devices, sources, and services. Results from a national survey of U.S. youth ages 12 to 17 reveal four distinct news repertoires. We find that half of youth respondents are news avoiders who exhibit the lowest levels of participation. The other half of youth respondents are characterized by one of three patterns of news use, each distinct in how they seek out (or avoid) using new media platforms and sources for news, and in their levels of participation.
This paper explores political expression on Facebook during the 2012 presidential debates. We investigate how individuals and organizations appropriated media resources to craft responses to the debates, and what this reveals about sources of influence in political communication on social media. In particular, we compare the stream of posts that spread widely during the debates—content that “went viral”—with more mundane practices of personal expression to show differences between the viral content that caught the attention of news media coverage about the debates and the posting practices of individuals using their Facebook as a site for individual expression.
This study extends past research on news repertoires by examining how individuals combine news exposure across an array of media platforms and content. Results from a national survey reveal 6 distinct news repertoires. While some respondents have clear ideologically driven repertoires, others have repertoires that are best described as medium-centric. A closer look at socio-demographic factors and participation levels among the 6 news repertoires are also explored. Results shed light on the democratic implications of the high-choice media landscape and research on news exposure and effects.