Since the birth of the nation, concepts about the political duties of citizens have changed drastically to keep pace with growth and development. The information needs have changed as well, as have the institutions that supply this information. In this essay I analyze the interrelation between citizenship in the twenty-first century and the information supply that nourishes it. I focus on studies that explore how political news is shaped to attract public attention and how citizens select it and make sense of it. Evidence from content analyses, focus group data, and intensive interviews supports the conclusion that the news supply is adequate for citizens' civic needs and that they use it judiciously. To accept that conclusion requires abandoning outdated paradigms of citizenship that ignore information-processing capabilities of human beings, the basic motivations that drive the search for political information, and the impact of the ever-increasing complexity of politics.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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