Knowledge Gap

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  • A hypothesis proposed in the early 1970s by the journalism professor Philip Tichenor and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota. Their research suggested that the mass media had the potential to widen the information differences between social classes. Because access to and control over the use of various media can vary significantly depending on socioeconomic class, people may acquire information differently. Members of higher socioeconomic classes tend to acquire information more readily, while members of lower classes may be less informed about the news and public affairs. The more the information becomes available in society, the wider the gap is believed to grow. In the Internet age, this concept is analogous to the digital divide. For more information, see Tichenor, Donohue, and Olien (1970).

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