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Social Media in the Changing Ecology of News Production and Consumption: The Case in Britain

Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), May 2011

Oxford Internet Institute Working Paper

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Working Paper

29 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011 Last revised: 3 Dec 2015

Nic Newman

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

William H. Dutton

Michigan State University - Quello Center

Grant Blank

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Date Written: April 30, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Online, news, Internet, social media, Fifth Estate, Fourth Estate

Suggested Citation

Newman, Nic and Dutton, William H. and Blank, Grant, Social Media in the Changing Ecology of News Production and Consumption: The Case in Britain (April 30, 2011). Oxford Internet Institute Working Paper; Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1826647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1826647

Nic Newman

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ( email )

13 Norham Gardens
Oxford, OX2 6PS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/

William H. Dutton (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Quello Center ( email )

406 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States

HOME PAGE: http://quello.msu.edu

Grant Blank

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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