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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 21 st Century

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News Consumption Revisited: Examining the Power of Habits in the 21 st Century

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  1. 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 alee@asc.upenn.edu Michael X. Delli Carpini Dean Annenberg School for Communication University of Pennsylvania mxd@asc.upenn.edu

  2. 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?

  3. 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”

  4. (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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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?

  8. Post-Hoc Analysis of TV Usage (freq.) N= 271 Broadcast: ABC, NBC, CBS Cable: CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, CNBC, FOX, BBC

  9. 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

  10. …H3e • Being natural inhabitants of the Internet, Natives (18-29) will visit a greater variety of news websites than Immigrants orSettlers.

  11. 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

  12. 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?

  13. H3e Findings (Supported) • Significantly more natives (29%) reported a greater variety of news sources than immigrants (27%) or settlers (11%). Also:

  14. Limitations • Suitability of data • Exploratory in nature • Possibility of alternative explanations Nonetheless… • Emergence of interesting patterns • Suggestive role of habits both offline and online

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Photo by: Angela M. Lee Thank you for your time and attention Angela M. Lee alee@asc.upenn.edu Michael X. Delli Carpini mxd@asc.upenn.edu