Damian Trilling

Conceptualizing and Measuring News Exposure as Network of Users and News Items

This chapter introduces the notion of “news unbundling”, the phenomenon that in today’s online media landscape, news items are distributed separately. In contrast to newspaper articles that were bundled in one newspaper edition, items from very different sources are distributed via various channels. Thus, the same item can arrive at the user via different pathways, including news sites, news aggregators, and social media. Therefore, the chapter proposes to conceptualize and measure (online) news exposure as a network of users and news items. The proposed model allows to for integrative research perspectives by seeing channel and brand as properties of edges and nodes, while putting the news item itself in a central role, allowing to test communication theory in an unbundled news ecosystem. It allows to answer flow-of-information questions such as via which route a given piece of information reaches a recipient and how this can be predicted; or to test online agenda-setting effects.