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By Terry Flew, Christina Spurgeon, Anna Daniel and Adam Swift
• Huge growth in online news and information services. • The 5 most popular Australian news sites were: • News.com.au • Ninemsn • The Sydney Morning Herald • The Age • The ABC
Shift away from mass communications and movement towards networked social media A crisis in professional journalism caused by: ◦ Declining newspaper circulation numbers and advertising revenues ◦ High levels of debt in commercial media business ◦ A shift in attention of media users ◦ A crisis of authority for professional journalism ◦ A growing public distrust of journalists
Audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented According to John Hartley one way mass communication is being replaced by two way networked communication Younger media users refer to blogs and citizen journalists for their news Mainstream news is of little interest to younger media users
Online media makes it easier to monitor and track patterns of usage Researchers partnered up with Fairfax to conduct an online survey to better understand younger audiences Three broad but distinctive types of users: ◦ Convenience users ◦ Loyal users ◦ Customisers
Arrive at sites through forward linking options presented to them via social network sites or email Account for 60% of those surveyed Predominantly aged between 18-24 years Prefer news items that were short, concise and “glossy” Most found mainstream news irrelevant to them Preferred news that suited their current interests
Account for 31% of those surveyed This group is the most intentional of news users Often remain loyal to a particular news brand Most likely to read physical newspapers Normally aged over 24 Value the quality and reputation of news organisations Often do not interact with news items Most likely to pay for certain types of news
Account for 9% of those surveyed Normally professionals aged over 24 Highly active users of online news Not loyal to one news brand Value accuracy, reliability and timeliness Most critical of the news they perceive Actively blog, comment, link and re-publish news Only willing to pay for news in niche markets
There is no single set of attitudes among young people towards online news, or news generally The strategies of newspapers organisations need to change to target each market Loyal users would be the best group for media companies to target for further information as they are the most likely to pay for online news The use of mobile devices for accessing news was low Reasons for this may be slow download speeds and costly mobile data plans
Online news is the preferred method of access for young users. Reasons included: ◦ The speed of updating information ◦ Real-time live feed delivery ◦ Convenience ◦ Links to other news and information sites ◦ Ability to search across multiple sources ◦ Multimedia capabilities 37% of respondents between 18-24 years nominated Facebook as their favourite news and information website
While the three groups presented are generalisations, they help us to better understand the segmentation of the online news and information market with regard to young users in Australia As online news grows, increased pressures will arise for new content to be tailored to particular demographics This is a distinct change from 20th century mass market/mass communication models
Has online news brought an end to the mass market/mass communication model of the 20th century? How important are young news consumers in relation to media production and target audiences? Would you identify with or consider yourself a part of one of the three distinct user groups identified by the study? (Convenience users, loyal users or customisers). How much would you consider Facebook to be a news website?