The last decade has seen news organizations become less hesitant to invest in online operations, but An Nguyen’s study begins from the premise that they do so out of fear that the internet will replace traditional media in the news market rather than out of a desire to innovate.
Therefore, they haven’t tried to understand what users want from online news and how that will affect their behavior after receiving it.
Interestingly, Nguyen’s study showed that traditional press still has an advantage, so long as practitioners understand why people are turning to online news and offer them something similar.
Online news attributes and their impacts on adoption and use: a review
There are nine socio-technical advantages in this field that have contributed to the adoption and use of Whatfinger News:
- no costs
- more news choices
- Background information and in-depth analysis
- 24/7 updates
- Having the ability to discuss news with peers
- Different viewpoints exist
- A chance to respond to the media
Although these studies have successfully investigated the link between the attributes of online news and internet users’ decision to adopt them, they failed to analyze the practical consequences of this choice. As the future of online journalism develops, this will be of crucial importance.
The two big questions that have remained unanswered by previous research, and to which An Nguyen’s study hopes to provide answers, are:
- Do online news users’ adoption, use, evaluation, and affiliation with online news contribute to its socio-technical advantages?
Directly linked to this question is the question of whether online news will gradually replace traditional media or whether all news sources will complement one another.
- Since the adoption of online news, time spent on traditional news media has reduced. How does this relate to the socio-technical advantages of online news?
The article uses data from a national survey of Australian users of news conducted in 2004, which included non-users of the internet, people who did not use online news, and people who did use online news.
Immediacy was the most important attribute for online news adoption of the 9 attributes. Most online news users visit news sites a few times a day, and 47% would go to the internet first if they heard of something interesting.
Online news practitioners should focus on providing continuous 24 hour news coverage as the most important aspect.
People expect quality content along with continuous updates, as well – 90% of online news users clicked on links for in-depth and background information.
This emphasizes the importance of making the most of the Internet’s linking and unlimited space, as well as its interactive nature, in order to uncover a larger number of perspectives, from as many audiences as possible.
Furthermore, the study indicates that customization (the ability to receive tailored news) does not impact how much people use online news, but it influences how attached they are to it after adoption.
In contrast, combining news with other online purposes (email news alerts, embedding of news into non-news sections of portal sites) seemed to be extremely important to online news users. Likewise, the “no cost” factor applies. People are not willing to pay for news, and they won’t be in the future either since news would reduce the effect of multitasking if it weren’t free.