Impact of online skills on the use of online news

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Involved researchers: Michaël Opgenhaffen & Leen d’Haenens

Michaël Opgenhaffen and Leen d’Haenens published in Communications: Heterogeneity within homogeneity: Impact of online skills on the use of online news media and interactive news features.

Results of an online survey (N = 931) reveal that, in contrast with the general belief, college students do not at all seem to be heavy users of online news media and online news features (multimedia, interactivity and hypertext). A cluster analysis shows that the use of online news media and interactive features differs among the students, a majority of them being traditional users and some, non-users. Logistic regressions demonstrate that the level of digital skills is a better predictor of news media and interactive features use than demographics. This article invites scholars in online journalism to emphasize on students’ differences rather than on similarities when it comes to measuring the impact of online news use. Our results suggest that online skills as a prerequisite for using online news media and features should be centrally taken into account in future research.

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