Media supply, audience demand, and the geography of news consumption in the United States

Scott L. Althaus, Anne M. Cizmar, James G. Gimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The choice to seek out political information is a function both of the individual traits of consumers and of the supply of news content in particular media markets, but previous research has tended to focus only on the individual-level correlates of news exposure. This article explores how the size and complexity of local information markets influence levels of exposure to local, network, and cable television news, as well as exposure to talk radio, online news sources, and daily newspapers. Using multilevel modeling and spatial lag regression, our analysis shows that the structure and demographic tendencies of local news markets are strongly correlated with patterns of individual-level news exposure even after controlling for individual-level demographic characteristics known to predict information seeking behavior. Moreover, we find consistent evidence of regional information cultures that influence demand for news beyond the impact of demographic and market-level factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Geography
  • Media consumption
  • Media markets
  • Media supply
  • News consumption
  • News exposure
  • Spatial analysis
  • Spatial data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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