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Online News Reading Behavior: From Habitual Reading to Stumbling Upon News

Borchuluun Yadamsuren and Sanda Erdelez

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting 
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


The Internet and new technologies are changing the information behavior of news readers. The present study explored the perception of news and online news reading behavior by applying Savolainen's (1995) Everyday Life Information Seeking model from library and information science field. Online news readers participated in two phases of mixed method study. The first phase involved the analysis of a web survey with 148 participants recruited through the website of a local newspaper. In the second phase, the researcher interviewed 20 respondents selected from the survey using think-aloud techniques. This exploratory study revealed that people perceive news differently than before. While some respondents still keep the perception of news as tied to traditional media, another group holds a much broader perception of news that goes beyond what is reported by professional journalists. This second group of respondents considered "all of the Internet" as news. Findings of this study indicate that that online news reading mostly happens on a habitual basis without conscious decisions from news consumers. Many respondents stated that they follow the same routine of reading news online at specific times every day and monitor news throughout the day. On the other hand, incidental exposure to online news is becoming typical behavior for many respondents to get informed about the news events.

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