Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Young adults and everyday-life information: The role of news media

an article by Kirsty Williamson (Monash University, Australia) and Asim Qayyum, Philip Hider and Ying-Hsang Liu (Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia) published in Library & Information Science Research Volume 34 Issue 4 (October 2012)


There is a paucity of research examining the everyday-life information seeking of young people, especially investigating the role that the news media has in providing information to young people for use in their everyday lives.

A qualitative, interpretivist approach is adopted, involving 34 students, ages 18 to 25, from an Australian university.

First, 20 students were interviewed about their news seeking (including topics and sources). Then 14 students participated in verbal protocol analysis, which involved a series of tasks concerning online and print newspapers. Lastly, students were interviewed about how they sought everyday-life information and whether they thought that they had incidentally acquired or encountered information on everyday-life topics in online or print newspapers in the recent past.

Findings indicated that, contrary to expectations, traditional print media still played a role for young people, and social media were perceived as important for communication with friends, rather than for news gathering. Purposeful information seeking was more likely to occur online, but both print and online newspapers retained an incidental role in providing information to students for their everyday lives. Participants used a range of media to suit their particular needs and purposes.

Thus, access to a wide variety of sources is important for everyday-life information seeking (ELIS) by young people.


► News media play a role in young adult everyday-life information behavior.
► This study focused on university students, aged 18–25.
► Surprisingly, traditional print media still play a role for young people.
► Social media are important for communication with friends rather than seeking news.
► Young people have a wide range of media needs.

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