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I Saw You in the News: Mediated and Direct Intergroup Contact Improve Outgroup Attitudes


Journal of Communication

Published online on


This study extends the boundary conditions of mediated contact theory by (a) differentiating between mediated contact quantity and quality, (b) examining whether mediated contact exerts effects above and beyond direct contact, and (c) offering causal and generalizable evidence on the effects of exposure to numerous individual outgroup members in news media. We match individual‐level data from a representative panel survey with data on the amount of coverage about members from two outgroups and with the results from validated sentiment analysis. Mediated contact, and especially its quantity, improved outgroup attitudes independently of direct contact. These findings emerged for both outgroups and across two outcome measures.