Conceptualising Online News Use
AbstractThis paper is based on the first results of the FLEET-project (Flemish E-publishing Trends), started in March 2006 and focussing on the transition of newspapers to online news sites. The scope of this paper is to investigate the existing concepts used in media studies to analyse the use of news and to refine and complete these concepts in order to develop an up-to-date conceptual framework for the study of online news. The starting point is the changing relationship between newspapers and their readers. The traditional roles of newspapers i.e. agenda-setter, watchdog and content provider are revisited in relation to the possibilities online media offer their readers in terms of participation: share, rate, tag, comment, produce news, etc. As newsreaders become news users they take over these roles or parts of them from the newspapers and mass media in general. By looking at this changed relationship concepts like participation, trust, community, lean-back/lean-forward and prosumer emerge as important differentiating factors and hence are explored as relevant concepts for the study of online news. In order to come to these findings, the literature consulted for this paper will be completed with the outcome of a series of interviews with experts in the Flemish e-publishing sector.
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