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Isabella Rebasso and Ernesto de Leon @ Hot Politics Lab

March 25 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm

In this Graduate Friday session of the Hot Politics Lab, PhD candidate Isabella Rebasso (University of Amsterdam) will give a talk titled “Interest, not political knowledge, drives emotional responses to politics”. Afterwards PhD canddiate Ernesto de Leon (University of Bern) will give a talk titled “Walking Roads to Hyperpartisan News: Online Intermediaries to COVID-19 News during the Outbreak of the Pandemic”.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and everbody is welcome to join via Zoom: https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/96492065253  at 3pm (CET).

Abstract talk by Ernesto de Leon: Third party services such as search engines and social media increasingly serve as intermediaries between users and important political news. In this study, we investigate how intermediaries shaped exposure to COVID-19 news during the dawn of the pandemic in Germany and Switzerland. Considering the implications they have had for pandemic policy response and political attitude development, we place a particular focus on intermediaries to hyperpartisan COVID-19 news, comparing it to mainstream coverage. We do so by employing a combination of survey and online behaviour data, where participant’s browsing activities were tracked for two months following lockdowns in Germany and Switzerland, allowing us to paint an accurate picture of media consumption and capture the ‘long tail’ of obscure hyperpartisan sites. We find that social media played an outsized role in hyperpartisan news access, raising questions about the function of these platforms during the pandemic. We also show that demographic characteristics, as well as political trust and political information efficacy, differentially drive the use of these intermediaries, shedding light on who is walking the roads to hyperpartisan pandemic news.