news consumption revisited examining the power of habits in the 21 st century
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News Consumption Revisited: Examining the Power of Habits in the 21 st Century. 11 th International Symposium on Online Journalism April 24th, 2010 // Austin, TX. Angela M. Lee Ph.D. Candidate Annenberg School for Communication

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news consumption revisited examining the power of habits in the 21 st century
News Consumption Revisited: Examining the Power of Habits in the 21st Century

11th International Symposium on Online Journalism

April 24th, 2010 // Austin, TX

Angela M. Lee

Ph.D. Candidate

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Pennsylvania

[email protected]

Michael X. Delli Carpini

Dean

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Pennsylvania

[email protected]

the new era journalism in transition
The New Era: Journalism In Transition
  • Optimism among 1st wave of online journalism studies: Internet liberates news information.
    • “A revolution”; “future of journalism”; “a whole new journalism”
  • Q: How does the Internet make a difference in online news consumption?
    • Democratize news information?
online news old wine in new bottle
Online News: Old Wine in New Bottle?
  • Dominance of tradition news entities online
    • Supply most news content;
    • “Shovelware” of content;
    • Have most traffic.
  • Hindman (2008): “Accessibility does not equate visibility”
    • In theory: Internet allows all voices to be heard
    • In practice: Only those with megaphones are heard (i.e., Yahoo, MSNBC, CNN)
    • “Myth of digital democracy”
new theory of media attendance
(New) Theory of Media Attendance
  • Def.: People lapse into habitual patterns of media consumption when supply > demand.
  • Habits = “gratifications” in U&G, but rarely examined in Communication research
  • Habits: An activity that is routinely performed, and often developed early on in one’s life.
    • Primacy
    • Frequency
habits digital divides
Habits & Digital Divides
  • Contemporary Americans have grown up in three different news media and technological environments:
    • Digital Natives (18-29): Print’s less central, TV&Radio news are still influential but declining. Grew up with Internet.
    • Digital Immigrants (30-64): TV&Radio news dominated, though print was still important. Adopted the Internet later in life.
    • Digital Settlers (65+): Print dominated, TV&Radio news on the rise. Grew up in analog-only environments

Source: Palfrey & Grasser, 2008

data method
Data & Method
  • Biennial Media Consumption Survey 2008 (BMCS) by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press
    • N=3600 nationally representative sample of adults
    • Survey administered from April 29-May 21, 2008
  • Logistic Regression Analysis
    • SPSS 17.
    • Chi-squares, Gamma and OLS also performed, and all findings yield the same conclusion as that of Logistic Regression Analysis
h1 a d h2 a d
H1a-d & H2a-d
  • In traditional media landscape…
    • H1a: Settlers’ (65+) primary & most frequented news medium = Print
    • H1b-c: Immigrants’ (30-64) primary & most frequented news medium = TV/Radio
    • H1d: Natives’ (18-29) primary & most frequented news medium = Internet
  • As would be expected, all hypotheses are supported, except for TV news use.
    • Q: TV?
post hoc analysis of tv usage freq
Post-Hoc Analysis of TV Usage (freq.)

N= 271

Broadcast: ABC, NBC, CBS

Cable: CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, CNBC, FOX, BBC

h3 a d migration of offline habits online
H3a-d (Migration of Offline Habits Online)
  • Specific websites that one turns to online will be influenced by one’s offline consumption habits
    • H3a: Settlers (65+): Primarily visit print newspaper sites
    • H3b,c: Immigrants (30-64): Primarily visit TV/radio sites
    • H3d: Natives (18-29): Primarily visit non-traditional news sites
      • i.e., Drudge, Digg, Slate, Topix, Blackamericaweb, Charter, Cox.net
slide10
…H3e
  • Being natural inhabitants of the Internet, Natives (18-29) will visit a greater variety of news websites than Immigrants orSettlers.
h3 a d findings
H3a-d Findings

*See paper for logistic regression analyses*

N= 485

Newspaper:  TV: Half Radio:  Untraditional: 

Note: CNN, MSNBC and Fox = 70% of TV news sites

Q: Untraditional: Weird pattern? 6% total Settlers; Small N

post hoc yi 30 47 look more like natives si 48 64 look more like settlers
Post-Hoc: “YI” (30-47) look more like Natives; “SI” (48-64) look more like Settlers.

N= 485

Q: Convergence of online news uses among younger population?

h3 e findings supported
H3e Findings (Supported)
  • Significantly more natives (29%) reported a greater variety of news sources than immigrants (27%) or settlers (11%). Also:
limitations
Limitations
  • Suitability of data
  • Exploratory in nature
  • Possibility of alternative explanations

Nonetheless…

  • Emergence of interesting patterns
  • Suggestive role of habits both offline and online
implications
Implications
  • Habits dictate traditional news medium choices
  • Habitual offline news uses influence online news uses
  • Even if there is accessibility and visibility, as long as news consumers don’t have the habit of seeking alternative sources, “digital democracy” is merited only in theory but not practice
  • Possible maturation of habitual news uses over time
  • Younger population (18-47) is converging in their online news use patterns
future of online journalism
Future of (Online) Journalism?
  • “We can only change what we understand” (G.S. Adam, 1993)
  • We need to understand why and how people consume news across media
    • Angela’s forthcoming dissertation: Examining news consumption via Uses & Gratifications + Integrative Model of Behavior Change
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