Media choices and the knowledge gap among Hispanics
Barnhart, Amy M
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between media use and Hispanics' knowledge of political and public affairs. Additionally, it examined the relationships between knowledge and socioeconomic status, generational status, and political affairs interest, as well the relationships between some of these variables. The study was conducted using a random sample of Hispanics in a southwestern county. There were 400 completed questionnaires. The high socioeconomic status group had significantly higher knowledge scores than the low socioeconomic status group. The gaps in knowledge indicated that the knowledge gap hypothesis holds true for the Hispanic population. Significant gaps in knowledge also occurred between generational status groups with the first and second generation averaging higher knowledge means than the third generation. The first generation may have scored higher than the third generation due to a desire to acculturate - they may be consciously absorbing more information in an effort to learn about their new home, the United States. Of both Spanish- and English-language media, only light and heavy use of English-language newspapers produced significant gaps in knowledge. The depth of coverage that newspapers provide may contribute to a knowledge gap between user levels; heavy users generally spend more time with the media.