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Understanding the Internet’s Impact on International Knowledge and Engagement: News Attention, Social Media Use, and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake
Unformatted Document Text:  Understanding the Internet’s Impact on International Knowledge and Engagement: News Attention, Social Media Use, and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake Jason A. Martin Assistant Professor DePaul University ## email not listed ## Top Student Paper, Mass Communication & Society Division, AEJMC 2011, St. Louis Abstract Relatively little is known about how Internet media use and other motivational factors are associated with outcomes such as knowledge of international news and involvement. Recent research suggests that attention and interaction with foreign affairs news is one path to closing the knowledge gap in this context. The acquisition of foreign affairs knowledge also has implications for individuals’ abilities to have a broader worldview, to hold accurate public opinions about foreign nations, to facilitate a greater since of global belonging, and to get involved with international events. This paper examines the relationship of media use, foreign affairs political knowledge, and international involvement. A nationally representative survey conducted shortly after the 2010 Haitian earthquake measured demographics, news media use, social media use, international engagement, and foreign affairs knowledge. Statistical analysis found that news exposure, news attention, and social media use produced significant independent positive associations with knowledge and involvement after demographic controls. Also, a regression model found that domestic political knowledge, cable TV exposure, Internet news exposure, and radio exposure were the most important predictors of international knowledge. Another regression found that news attention, e-mail use, social media use, and texting about the Haitian earthquake were the three strongest predictors of international involvement. These findings support related research that has found a positive association among Internet news use, international knowledge, and international engagement, while also making new contributions regarding the importance of mediated interpersonal discussion for predicting international involvement.

Authors: Martin, Jason A..
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Understanding the Internet’s Impact on International Knowledge and Engagement: 
News Attention, Social Media Use, and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake 
 
Jason A. Martin 
Assistant Professor 
DePaul University 
## email not listed ##
 
Top Student Paper,
 Mass Communication & Society Division, AEJMC 2011, St. Louis 
 
Abstract 
 
 
Relatively little is known about how Internet media use and other motivational factors are 
associated with outcomes such as knowledge of international news and involvement. Recent research 
suggests that attention and interaction with foreign affairs news is one path to closing the knowledge gap 
in this context. The acquisition of foreign affairs knowledge also has implications for individuals’ abilities 
to have a broader worldview, to hold accurate public opinions about foreign nations, to facilitate a greater 
since of global belonging, and to get involved with international events. 
This paper examines the relationship of media use, foreign affairs political knowledge, and 
international involvement. A nationally representative survey conducted shortly after the 2010 Haitian 
earthquake  measured  demographics, news media use, social media use, international engagement, and 
foreign affairs knowledge. Statistical analysis found that news exposure, news attention, and social media 
use produced significant independent positive associations with knowledge and involvement after 
demographic controls. Also, a regression  model  found that domestic political knowledge, cable TV 
exposure, Internet news exposure, and radio exposure were the most important predictors of international 
knowledge. Another regression found that news attention, e-mail use, social media use, and texting about 
the Haitian  earthquake were the three strongest predictors of international involvement.  These findings 
support related research that has found a positive association among Internet news use, international 
knowledge, and international engagement, while also making new contributions regarding the importance 
of mediated interpersonal discussion for predicting international involvement. 


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