Understanding the Online News Consumer: A Comparative Study Between Italy and United States (L’Informazione da Rito a Puzzle - Le News e Gli Italiani: Dalla Carta Stampata, Alla Rete al Mobile)
21 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2011 Last revised: 19 Aug 2014
Date Written: February 10, 2011
In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. The Internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Italy is, under this perspective, an interesting laboratory. Ownership of traditional media is concentrated in the hands of a relative small elite and public broadcasters are often strongly influenced by politicians.
At the same time, according to a recent report issued by the national Institute of Statistics, Internet is finally becoming widely adopted by young people.
The paper contains the results of a CATI survey conducted during December 2010 by the "Advanced Communication Research Lab" (LaRiCA) of the University of Urbino on a sample of 1209 respondents representative of the Italian population (200 of whose have been interviewed on mobile phones). In order to foster a comparative analysis, the survey questions set was translated and adapted for the different national context from a previous survey conducted during January 2010 by Pew Internet in United States.
Aim of the research was investigating how Italians inform themselves, which combination of media platforms they do use, what profiles of use and trust emerge in relation to the different parts of the media system, how mobile, personal and participatory news consumption is affecting information.
The results show how Italians, on one hand, remain strongly tied to traditional mass media, with little differences to the past, and, on the other hand, they behave on the Web in a surprisingly similar way to the American Internet users. A further generational analysis clearly pinpoint a common path that describe how the process of news consumption is shifting from the traditional rite of appointment based information toward a new way mainly influenced by foraging and opportunism. In this new multi-platform media environment people seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines.
Note: Downloadable document is in Italian.
Keywords: news consumption, Internet, Italy
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