Kobayashi & Inamasu (2015)

Kobayashi, T. (小林哲郎), & Inamasu, K. (稲増一憲) (2015).
The knowledge leveling effect of portal sites. 
Communication Research,  42(4), 482-502.
doi: 10.1177/0093650214534965
The new high-choice media environment has allowed entertainment-oriented people to avoid political news, resulting in a wider gap in political knowledge between entertainment- and newsoriented citizens. On the Internet, however, users tend to be concentrated into a handful of portal sites that offer a mixed information environment in which both news and entertainment are readily available. The simultaneous presentation of news and entertainment headlines on portal sites exposes entertainment-oriented people to the news, which may in turn narrow the knowledge gap between them and news-oriented people. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effects of exposure to major portal sites in Japan, where Yahoo! JAPAN attracts a large majority of Internet users. Two studies using self-reported exposure to portal sites (N = 838) and web browsing histories (N = 1000) demonstrated that even entertainment-oriented people can acquire political knowledge, and thus portal sites can serve as knowledge levelers.