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Processing the News

Doris A. Graber's seminal study Processing the News: How People Tame the Information Tide, represents a landmark in political communication research. First published in 1984, the study shed new light on major questions concerning the political consequences of media use and audience behavior.

This carefully conducted, pioneering research eschews the generalizations that characterize media effects as either nonexistent or all powerful. Instead, Graber illustrates the complexities of media uses and effects on individuals' mental stores of information by bringing schema theory into the field of political communication. Media influence on schemas is evident in the way Graber's interviewees talk about politics, but media influence cannot be categorized simplistically in all-or-nothing terms.

Schema theory draws heavily on cognitive psychology, and Graber argues that when people encounter new ...

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