Walking Roads to Hyperpartisan News: Online Intermediaries to COVID-19 News During the Outbreak of the Pandemic

de León, Ernesto; Makhortykh, Mykola; Adam, Silke (30 May 2022). Walking Roads to Hyperpartisan News: Online Intermediaries to COVID-19 News During the Outbreak of the Pandemic (Unpublished). In: 72nd Annual ICA Conference - "One world, one network?!". Paris, France. 26.05.-30.05.2022.

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Third party services such as search engines and social media increasingly serve as intermediaries between users and important political news. In this study, we investigate how intermediaries shaped exposure to COVID-19 news during the dawn of the pandemic in Germany and Switzerland. Considering the implications they have had for pandemic policy response and political attitude development, we place a particular focus on intermediaries to hyperpartisan COVID-19 news, comparing it to mainstream coverage. We do so by employing a combination of survey and online behaviour data, where participant's browsing activities were tracked for two months following lockdowns in Germany and Switzerland, allowing us to paint an accurate picture of media consumption and capture the `long tail' of obscure hyperpartisan sites. We find that social media played an outsized role in hyperpartisan news access, raising questions about the function of these platforms during the pandemic. We also show that demographic characteristics, as well as political trust and political information efficacy, differentially drive the use of these intermediaries, shedding light on who is walking the roads to hyperpartisan pandemic news.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Communication and Media Studies (ICMB)

UniBE Contributor:

de León Williams, Ernesto Emiliano, Makhortykh, Mykola, Adam, Silke


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Mykola Makhortykh

Date Deposited:

21 Jun 2022 11:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:20

Uncontrolled Keywords:

COVID, hyperpartisan, news, web tracking, media consumption, political trust, political information efficacy



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