High quality cross-platform research is difficult and expensive to perform in political communication. Yet studying media platforms in isolation ignores the realities of the contemporary media experience. As platforms multiply, the media environment itself has become more complicated, as classic understandings of media ecology give way to a growing recognition of the hybrid media system. In studying political communication across platforms, we can better understand what types of experiences and effects are universal, and which are specific to a particular platform. This special issue highlights the diverse methods needed to study a complex media environment and the nuance and richness of understanding we gain by doing so. We urge researchers to extend their research outside of a single platform, to consider the context and affordances of multiple platforms, and to focus on a more ecological approach to the modern media environment.
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- research agenda