The Threats and Potentials of a Changing Political Information Environment (THREATPIE)

We examine how current changes in political information affect the conditions for a healthy democracy. Based on the concept of ‘political information environment’ (PIE) we consider the supply and demand of political information. Supply refers to the quantity and quality of news and public affairs content provided by traditional and new media; demand captures the amount and type of information the public consumes.

Recent changes in PIEs may lead to a growing number of uniformed, misinformed, or selectively informed citizens. This increase potentially endangers the functioning of democracy. To address this concern, the study will investigate:

(1) how do citizens acquire political information, and how does this affect their political attitudes and behaviour,

(2) what is the content and quality of the information citizens are exposed to,

(3) where do divides between well-informed and less well-informed citizens exist, across and within European societies,

(4) how can citizens be empowered to navigate in their PIE and find valuable information.

We aim at achieving these goals through a series of comparative, innovatively designed studies, including web-tracking, comparative surveys, focus-groups, and survey-embedded experiments in 10+ countries across Europe, and the US.


Research team

Project Leader:
Prof. dr. D. N. Hopmann
University of Southern Denmark (Denmark)

Principal Investigators:
Professor C.H. de Vreese
University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

Professor P. Van Aelst
Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium)

Professor C. Schemer
Johannes Gutenberg University (Germany)

Professor J. Stanyer
Loughborough University (UK)

Professor A.S. Cardenal
Fundació per a la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain)

Professor A. Stepinska
Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland)

Dr K. Koc-Michlska
Audencia Business School (France)