Monday, May 30, 2011

News finds mediated students

A new global study by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland shows that students no longer search for news.

The news finds them.

Students "inhale," almost unconsciously, news served up on the sidebar of their email account, on friends' Facebook walls, on Twitter and via chat.

"We are used to having information about everything on the planet and this information we have to have in an unbelievable time. Our generation doesn't need certified and acknowledged information. More important is quantity, not quality of news," said one student from Slovakia.

"Students now get their news in chunks of 140 characters or from Facebook posts," said Ph.D. student Jessica Roberts, a former reporter at the Cape Times in South Africa, and a member of ICMPA's research team.

"Students want and get their news as it is breaking, with few filters," she added.

Most students in the study didn't discriminate between news that the New York Times, the BBC or Al Jazeera might cover, and news that might only appear in a friend's Facebook status update.

"Students are interested in news," Roberts said. "It's just that students today are more inclusive about what they consider news than older adults are. 'News' to students means 'anything that just happened' - and students want to know it all immediately, whether it is a globally momentous story or only one of personal interest."