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"Public Service Media and Exposure Diversity"

International Journal of Communication

Vol. 9, 2015.

Do we as citizens consume media content that is diverse enough to enable us to make well-informed choices ? If not, who should help us do so ? Are we aware of the changing media landscape ? And are we capable of navigating this changing landscape ?

The articles in this Special Section on Public Service Media and Exposure Diversity address these questions and more on the role that public service media can play.

Public service media, such as the BBC in the UK and NPR in the U.S., have traditionally played a leading role in the diversity that is one of the prime objectives of national media policies. They have also contributed to a functioning public sphere by offering varied content of high quality and value. This mission was not expressly formulated in the mandate of public service media because under the conditions of analog media, the equation was simple : A diverse supply by public service media—which at the time also enjoyed the position as the primary means of information—presumably led to diversity in consumption. Since then, however, the number of digital outlets and types of media content offered to users, as well as the tools of user empowerment and engagement (such as social networks and search engines), have exploded. The presumptions that exposure diversity is a straightforward function of supply and that public service media have a role in making this link happen are rightly put in doubt.

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