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A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media

Sobbrio, Francesco (2011): A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media.

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Abstract

We model a market for news where profit maximizing media outlets choose their editors from a population of rational citizens. We show that when information acquisition is costly, liberal (conservative) citizens find optimal to acquire information from a media outlet having a liberal (conservative) editor. At the same time, there is always an upper bound on the possible "extremism" of an editor above which the citizens' demand for news is strictly decreasing. Depending on the distribution of citizens' ideological preferences, a media outlet may choose to hire a non-moderate editor even in a monopolistic market. Moreover, the higher the degree of competition in the market for news, the more likely that media outlets will hire non-moderate editors. Finally, less moderate editors are more likely to be hired in a news market where the opportunity cost of acquiring information for citizens is low.

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