|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
as a key source of political information and commentary, providing audiences with an accessible lens into some of the most hot-button issues of our time. Yet due to the clickbait economics of the polarized digital news business, the quality of entertainment journalism is often compromised, and
consequently, people view pop culture coverage as soft news with little substance or public value. Very little is known about how this journalism is produced and consumed as a component of the digital news ecosystem. Moreover, we lack a measured sense of its potential impact on the political interests and knowledge of its audiences, the politics of the entertainment industry it covers, and the
shape of public debate more broadly. Drawing on interviews with entertainment journalists and testimonials from news audiences who share these stories on social media, Joel Penney argues for the importance of reframing our understanding of impactful journalism and persuasive political communication when culture and identity have moved
thoroughly to the center of U.S. public discourse. Moreover, Penney examines how audiences engage with this highly accessible and emotionally resonant form of journalism and use it as a resource for political expression and discussion, raising important questions about how it can serve as a bridge
to public issue engagement as well as a potential distraction from on-the-ground political concerns. As a cutting-edge, data-rich analysis of the blurring boundaries between entertainment, politics, social media activism, and partisan journalism, Pop Culture, Politics, and the News makes a major
contribution to public scholarship on the shifting digital information landscape.