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A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Post-Industrial Democracies

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has posted this study of the state of the media in a technological age by Harvard Scholar Pippa Norris. Norris's unconventional thesis is that, contrary to the conclusions of many public intellectuals and academics, the dramatic changes in the forms of journalism in the last 20 years have not created a civic culture of cynicism, sensationalism, and "videomalaise." Drawing heavily on public opinion datasets and statistics about media use, Norris, in readable and engaging prose, makes the case that, while the profile of the media has significantly changed in post-industrial democracies, they are still serving a democratic process: that is, "public attention to the news media gradually reinforces civic engagement, just as civic engagement strengthens attention to the media." Note: figures and tables appear at the end of each chapter in this online version.
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