The online information experiences of news-seeking young adults

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Abstract

Introduction: Based on the premise that news of all kinds is a form of information, the purpose of this study was to understand use of news sources by young adults in fast-paced and dynamic online media environments. Method: A qualitative (interpretivist) framework and broadly ethnographic approach was used. Fourteen students undertook six online tasks (of which five are reported here), while describing their thoughts and actions. All online interactions were recorded and interview questions were asked immediately after each task in order to gain further insight. Analysis: Concurrent and retrospective verbal protocols from the tasks were analysed to develop themes and categories. Results: Most participants preferred to seek local news via traditional print media, but comfortably used and trusted online media (except blogs) for national and international news. The majority of participants were more likely to use a Google search to find everyday life information than to check a newspaper, either in print or online, thus confirming the salience of search engines in the online world. Conclusions: The results have implications for information research and provision more broadly as news providers struggle with information needs and social networking preferences of readers in these ever-evolving environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Research
Volume19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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