Mass Media

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Matthew Loveless. 2015. “Institutions and Media Use in Democratizing Countries: The Czech-Slovak Case as a Quasi-Experiment” International Journal of Communication 9(21): 2601-2621.

Abstract: Using original survey data from the early democratization period in Central and Eastern Europe, I compare the choice of media for individuals’ informational demands in the context of differently evolved media environments. Using the quasi-experimental setting of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the findings show that individuals who express higher levels of interest in staying informed on politics were more likely to use public rather than privatizing media. Further, in the context of the multi-level design, this media preference is consistent regardless of the differing extents of privatization between the countries. This analysis adds further empirical evidence for the ongoing debate on the role of mass media and the process of political socialization in democratizing countries.

Jebril, Nael, Matthew Loveless, and Václav Štětka. 2015. “Media and Democratisation: Challenges for an Emerging Sub-field” Media Studies 6(11): 84-98.

Abstract: This article seeks to compile an empirically-based understanding of the role of media in countries in transition. The study focuses on the processes of political socialization, behaviour and accountability, and gives examples from three regions: Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East/North Africa region. We draw on some of the major works relevant to the study of mass media in these transitional contexts with the aim of discerning emergent theories available to the study of media and democratisation. While aware of the limitations posed by the nature and scope of the sample of the studies reviewed, we do identify and discuss some of the potentially key obstacles to theory-building and propose some alternative paths of enquiry.

Loveless, Matthew. 2015. “Contextualizing Media Behavior: Media Environments and Individuals’ Media Use in the European Union” Central European Journal of Communication 8(1:14): 112-131.

Abstract: Individuals in ‘freer’ media environments are assumed to have better choices among media and are thus able to make better and more efficient use of media. Using the European Parliamentary Elections of 2009 as a highly visible political event, we find that, as expected, individuals use media to satisfy informational needs about the elections in highly ‘free’ media environments (Hallin & Mancini 2004). In addition, we find strong prima facie evidence that in ‘less free’ media environments – distinguished by the strong alignment of parties, social and political cleavages, and media outlets – individuals also respond with higher information-seeking media behavior. For comparative media studies, by linking specific media environments to specific individual-level media behaviors, where media is used tells us more about how media is used.

Loveless, Matthew. 2010. “Understanding Media Socialization in Democratizing Countries: Mobilization and Malaise in Central and Eastern Europe” Comparative Politics 42: 457-474.

Abstract: This analysis examines the role of mass media on democratic political socialization in countries in transition. Using survey data from the mid-1990s in Central and Eastern Europe, it provides empirical evidence that individuals’ perceptions of their own efficacy benefit from mass media chiefly through deliberate, information-seeking media consumption. Grounded in the media mobilization/malaise debate, the findings suggest that one, individuals can derive benefit from mass media less through what they consume or how much but rather through the intention of their consumption. Two, it demonstrates a theoretical means to export Western media theory by stressing the contextual imperatives of transition that motivate individuals’ information-seeking behaviour in order to better understand the role of media in political socialization.

Loveless, Matthew. 2009. “The Theory of International Media Diffusion: Political Socialization and International Media in Transitional Democracies” Studies in Comparative International Development 44(2): 118-36.

Abstract: Despite the long-standing normative assumption that, for individuals in transitional states, exposure to Western media cultivates stronger attachments to Western political and economic values, the evidence presented here suggests otherwise. Using mass public survey data from the mid-1990s in five Central and Eastern European countries, this article demonstrates a general lack of support for international media’s positive contributions to individuals’ democratic attitudes and preferences for market economies. This finding is particularly unexpected because the countries under investigation represent ideal cases based on their proximity to Western democracies and international (Western) media sources’ capacities for extensive transnational media penetration into the region. Yet this failure to find persuasive evidence of the influence of international media diffusion on the development of Western political values sharpens our understanding of the process of political socialization in democratizing countries by eliminating an assumed source and is thus relevant to students of democratization, international development, and mass media.

Loveless, Matthew. 2008. “Media Dependency: Mass Media as Sources of Information in Democratizing Countries” Democratization 15(1):162-183.

Abstract: The theory of media dependency states that for societies in states of crisis or instability, citizens are more reliant on mass media for information and in doing so are more susceptible to their effects. As there is little empirical evidence of how citizens’ use of mass media in democratizing countries, this article examines the media use patterns of individuals in democratizing countries and proposes that individuals’ media use is not only heightened during democratic transition but is as well a function of individuals’ deliberate information-seeking strategies. Using surveys from six Central and Eastern European countries in 1996-7, I present empirical evidence that citizens of new democracies purposively use the media for obtaining political information and that this pattern of media use is especially pronounced in new democracies that have not proceeded very far in the process of democratic consolidation. These findings begin to fill the gap in our knowledge about the role of mass media in democratizing countries and chart clear directions for broadening our understanding of the process of political socialization in democratizing countries.

Invited (Peer-Reviewed) Publications

Jebril, Nael, Vaclav Stetka, and Matthew Loveless. 2013. “What is known about the Role of Mass Media in Transition to Democracy? Reuters Institute Working Paper, The University of Oxford (UK).

Access to downloadable publications: Researchgate