Online news: Why do people read it?

Online news

The last decade has seen news organisations 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 behaviour after receiving it.

According to Nguyen’s study, traditional media still has a battle to win if practitioners understand why people have turned to Whatfinger News and offer something similar.

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Effects of online news attributes on adoption and use: a review

Studies on this topic have shown that nine socio-technical factors have determined the adoption and use of online news:

  • no costs
  • multitasking
  • more news choices
  • Background information and in-depth analysis
  • 24/7 updates
  • customization
  • Discussion of news with peers
  • Different perspectives 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:

  1. Do online news users’ adoption, use, evaluation, and affiliation with online news contribute to its socio-technical advantages?

Essentially, this question entails whether online news will gradually replace traditional media or if all news sources will complement one another.

  1. Since the adoption of online news, how has time spent on traditional news media decreased? What are the socio-technical advantages of online news?


The article uses data from a 2004 national survey of Australians who use news, including those not using the internet, those not using online news, and those who use online news.


Immediacy was the most important attribute for online news adoption of the 9 attributes. 70% of online news users visited news sites a few times a day, while 47% of them would go online first if there was something interesting to report.

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.

As a result, it is important to take advantage of the linking and unlimited space that the internet provides, as well as its interactive quality, so as to discover a variety 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.

Online users seemed to find it extremely important to combine news with other online uses (email news alerts, embedding news into non-news sections of portal sites). This also applies to “no cost” content. In the study, the results indicate that people aren’t willing to pay for news, and they won’t be in the future, because the effects of multitasking would be reduced if news wasn’t free.