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versión impresa ISSN 0719-3661versión On-line ISSN 0719-367X

Cuad.inf.  no.40 Santiago jun. 2017



Communication and Public Opinion

Carlos MuñizA 

A Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, México(

Public opinion has traditionally been conceptualized as the sum or aggregate of individual opinions, which citizens have about the issues that arise in the public sphere. This definition focuses, therefore, the investigation of the area in the analysis of the opinions and beliefs maintained by individuals. However, it would be simplistic to pretend that the study of these aspects exhausts the full potential of research on this subject.

On the contrary, this is a field of study with varied and equally fertile lines of work, such as the analysis of the determinants of opinions, beliefs and attitudes, the study of media content on politics or the configuration of citizen participation, to mention a few. This richness of approaches can be observed in the studies presented in this issue on its central theme. The initial versions of the first three papers collected here were presented at the VII Latin American Congress of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), held in Monterrey, Mexico, in October 2016.

In the first paper, Pastrana Valls analyzes the impact of media consumption and cognitive mobility -defined as the capacity for political information in terms of educational level and political interest- in the voting and electoral behavior of the Mexican voter. With data from the Latinobarómetro survey for the period 2000-2010, the author confirms that greater cognitive mobility encourages the possibility of going to vote, preferably by opposition parties. In addition, the use of social networks favors a less tendency to vote, while the consumption of traditional media drives more the vote towards the governing party.

In the same line of analysis Martínez and Maldonado, based on a longitudinal analysis, detect that attention to news and politics programs is a key variable to explain interest and political participation of youths from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, both in a conventional and nonconventional level. However, the political interest does not show this same explanatory capacity, since it does not impact on the nonconventional participation.

The new media have transformed the political sphere, which is manifested in, for example, changes in relations between representatives and citizens, new forms of electoral campaign or different processes explaining citizens’ behavior. The work of Díaz-Cerveró and Barredo is framed in this area, and analyzes citizen participation in 46 Mexican cybermedia. Their conclusion is that there are few media that foster interactivity of their followers, with digital native platforms and print media being most active in this regard.

The work of Navia and Ulriksen, based on surveys conducted in Chile between 2009 and 2015, detected positive relationships between media consumption and voter turnout. In addition, the analysis on the joint impact of each media determined that, while social networks separately had a significant effect, this stopped showing up when adding the consumption of traditional media.

In other issues, this edition of includes ten papers that cover various topics of research on communications in Latin America. Chillón’s article reflects in depth on the concept of “facción” and the phenomenon of the so-called “post-truth” in the field of journalistic narration in the region. The approach and treatment with which the media tackles some topics is shown in the work of Santos and Camacho, who analyze the interest of the

Spanish press in certain news about cannabis, and in that of Márquez-Ramírez y Rojas, centered on the coverage of the sports scandal FIFAGate. Nieto, on the other hand, explores how a financial scandal is treated in Chile considering the transmediality present in the economic press. Meanwhile, Díaz and Mellado measure the degree of homogeneity and diversity of the information agenda and the use of sources in Chile, including the written press, online information portals, radio and television. Additionally, there are works that show the role played by ICTs in the educational process (Ferreira and Ricoy); on the relationship between the viewing and valuation of advertising on YouTube (Pintado and Sánchez); on war journalism and the coverage of the Argentinean correspondents of the Falklands War (Lavín and Gallardo-Camacho); on the role of the family in the habits of consumption of news (Brites), and on the relationship between journalism and literature (Trindade and Inácio).

This selection of manuscripts seeks to show and be a contribution to the thematic and theoretical plurality present in the area of communications research, so we invite you to read and share them.

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