Interactivity and community newspapers: a survey

The last issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication publishes another article on online journalism:

Chung, Deborah S.; Nah, Seungahn. “The effects of interactive news presentation pf perceived user satisfaction of online community newspapers”. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14 (2009), 855-874.

Amongst the findings of the research, conducted focusing on Kentucky (USA) online newspapers having a circulation of less than 50,000, “they indicate that indeed news audiences perceive their news consumption experiences to be positive when they are engaged by frequently using various interactive features. Correlation analysis shows that there is a robust relationship between the use of various interactive features and perceived satisfaction. In general, interactive features were used in moderation”.

The authors distinguish four types of interactive feature usage: customization (content submissions, letters to the editor, e-mail bylines), personalization (search, alerts, RSS, e-newsletters), choice features (audio, video, webcam) and interpersonal features (forums, chats, blogs, Q&A). According to the survey, “online news audiences use interactive features moderately to somewhat infrequently”, and “content submission features were used most frequently”.

Finally, the authors underline that althoug most of the literature “indicates the critical need for dialogical journalism, the interpersonal features of a news sites did not increase perceived satisfaction amongst users”, since “online community news audiences do not consider online newspapers to serve as a place for interpersonal communication”.

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