Social Media in the Changing Ecology of News Production and Consumption: The Case in Britain
University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
William H. Dutton
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
April 30, 2011
Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), May 2011
Oxford Internet Institute Working Paper
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Working Paper
This paper looks at how the production and consumption of news is changing in the UK. It draws from survey research of individuals in Britain from 2003-2011, which includes evidence on patterns of news readership among Internet users and non-users, as well as more qualitative case studies of developments in online news organizations, based on interviews and log files of journalistic sites. Survey evidence has shown a step-jump in the use of online news since 2003, as a complement to print news reading, but a leveling off since 2009. However, this relative stability in news consumption masks a change in the growing role of social networks, both as a substitute for search in many cases, but also in their relationship with online newspapers, as the interaction of mainstream news and networked individuals has begun to reshape the ecology of production and consumption. Institutionally the paper argues that these patterns underscore recent changes in news media, such as their continued reliance on the Internet, but also added competition from social media, which are becoming a major portal to the Internet. Individually we see the empowerment of networked individuals of a Fifth Estate who have achieved a growing independence from the Fourth Estate as more information moves online and individuals become routinely linked to the Internet. However, a growing synergy between the Fourth and Fifth Estate might be one of the more important aspects of the new news ecology.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Online, news, Internet, social media, Fifth Estate, Fourth Estateworking papers series
Date posted: May 1, 2011 ; Last revised: May 7, 2011
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