European news junkies

Most Norwegians generally have a good understanding of what’s in the news, whether they are interested in and follow the news or not. In the US, only those who are initially interested in the news are well informed, while those who are uninterested in the news remain uninformed.

A comparative study conducted in six European countries plus the United States concludes that Europeans are bombarded with information in the media, whether they like it or not, and that they must really make an active effort to avoid the news.

In the US, major national news broadcasts are not that commercially attractive and are run during non-prime time hours. Anyone who wants to follow the news thus has to make an active effort to do so.

Media sociologist Toril Aalberg at NTNU, who was project manager for the survey, believes that democracy requires knowledge, which makes political ignorance a problem for democracy.