Skip to content
1981
Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0810-2686
  • E-ISSN: 2517-620X

Abstract

There is much to learn about the news habits of Australian teens and this study contributes to the small body of current research through an exploration of the news-consumption practices of 13–17-year-olds at a Victorian independent school. In doing so, it explores the complex behaviours of younger people who are immersed in a physical and digital environment where, in their own words, news and information ‘is always there’. Through an analysis of focus-group data, informed by Potter’s theory of media literacy, this study supports international research findings that teens are aware of a range of daily news sources but mostly experience them incidentally. They purposefully seek news when it is a topic that holds their interest or is somehow personally relevant to them. Other significant findings suggest that Australian teens rely heavily on the search engine Google for news and information and have little to no allegiance to specific news providers. Teens believe ‘knowing’ the news will become more relevant to them as they get older and take on adult responsibilities.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/ajr_00090_7
2022-06-01
2024-07-13
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Antunovic, D.,, Parsons, P., and Cooke, T. R.. ( 2018;), ‘ “Checking” and Googling: Stages of news consumption among young adults. ’, Journalism, 19:5, pp. 63248.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Ashley, S.. ( 2019), News Literacy and Democracy, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Ashley, S.,, Maksl, A., and Craft, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ News media literacy and political engagement: What’s the connection?. ’, Journal of Media Literacy Education, 9:1, pp. 7998.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ( 2021;), ‘ News media bargaining code. ’, https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/digital-platforms/news-media-bargaining-code. Accessed 1 March 2021.
  5. Bennett, W. L.,, Wells, C., and Rank, A.. ( 2009;), ‘ Young citizens and civic learning: Two paradigms of citizenship in the digital age. ’, Citizenship Studies, 13:2, pp. 10520.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bryman, A.. ( 2008), Social Research Methods, , 3rd ed.., Oxford:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Cobb, C. J., and Kenny, D.. ( 1986;), ‘ Adolescents and the newspaper: Images in black and white. ’, Newspaper Research Journal, 7:3, pp. 18.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Common Sense ( 2018;), ‘ Social life social media: Teens reveal their experiences. ’, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2018_cs_socialmediasociallife_fullreport-final-release_2_lowres.pdf. Accessed 5 February 2021.
  9. Costera Meijer, I.. ( 2007;), ‘ The paradox of popularity: How young adults experience the news. ’, Journalism Studies, 8:1, pp. 96116.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Covenant College ( 2022), Covenant College: Christian Learning for Life, Geelong:, Covenant College;, https://www.covenant.vic.edu.au/. Accessed 15 January 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cozza, V.,, Hoang, V. T.,, Petrocchi, M., and Spognardi, A.. ( 2016;), ‘ Experimental measures of news personalization in Google News. ’, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9881, pp. 93104.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Craft, S.,, Ashley, S., and Maksl, A.. ( 2016;), ‘ Elements of news literacy: A focus group study of how teenagers define news and why they consume it. ’, Electronic News, 10:3, pp. 14360.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Craft, S.,, Ashley, S., and Maksl, A.. ( 2017;), ‘ Measuring news media literacy: How knowledge and motivation combine to make news-literate teens. ’, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/34713/MeasuringNewsMediaLiteracy.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y. Accessed 15 November 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. David, C.. ( 2009;), ‘ Learning political information from the news: A closer look at the role of Motivation. ’, Journal of Communication, 59:2, pp. 24361.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Dezuanni, M.,, Notley, T., and Corser, K.. ( 2020;), ‘ News literacy and Australian teachers: How news literacy is taught in the classroom. ’, Western Sydney University and Queensland University of Technology, https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/1689447/Teaching_Media_Literacy_web_version.pdf. Accessed 6 June 2020.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Edgerly, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ Seeking out and avoiding the news media: Young adults’ proposed strategies for obtaining current events information. ’, Mass Communication & Society, 20:3, pp. 35877.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Edgerly, S., and Vraga, E. K.. ( 2019;), ‘ News, entertainment or both? Exploring audience perceptions of media genre in a hybrid media environment. ’, Journalism, 20:6, pp. 80726.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Edgerly, S., and Vraga, E. K.. ( 2020;), ‘ Deciding what’s news: News-ness as an audience concept for the hybrid media environment. ’, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 97:2, pp. 41634.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Elvestad, E., and Phillips, A.. ( 2018), Misunderstanding News Audiences: Seven Myths of the Social Media Era, London:: Routledge;.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Eveland, W.. ( 2002;), ‘ News information processing as mediator of the relationship between motivations and political knowledge. ’, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 79:1, pp. 2640.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Flaxman, S.,, Goel, S., and Rao, J.. ( 2016;), ‘ Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and online news consumption. ’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 80:S1, pp. 298320.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Fleming, J.. ( 2014;), ‘ Media literacy, news literacy, or news appreciation? A case study of the news literacy program at Stony Brook University. ’, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 69:2, pp. 14665.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Galan, L.,, Osserman, J.,, Parker, T., and Taylor, M.. ( 2019;), ‘ How young people consume news and the implications for mainstream media. ’, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University, https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2021-02/FlamingoxREUTERS-Report-Full-KG-V28.pdf. Accessed 20 February 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Gibson, F.. ( 2007;), ‘ Conducting focus groups with children and young people: Strategies for success. ’, Journal of Research in Nursing, 12:5, pp. 47383.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Haim, M.,, Graefe, A., and Brosius, H. B.. ( 2018;), ‘ Burst of the filter bubble?: Effects of personalization on the diversity of Google News. ’, Digital Journalism, 6:3, pp. 33043.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Head, A.,, Wihbey, J.,, Metaxas, P.,, MacMillan, M., and Cohen, D.. ( 2018;), ‘ How students engage with news: Five takeaways for educators, journalists, and librarians. ’, Knight Foundation and Association of College and Research Libraries, https://projectinfolit.org/pubs/news-study/pil_news-study_2018-10-16.pdf. Accessed 5 February 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Hobbs, R.. ( 2017;), ‘ Teaching and learning in a post-truth world: It’s time for schools to upgrade and reinvest in media literacy lessons. ’, Educational Leadership, 75:3, pp. 2631.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Huang, E.. ( 2009;), ‘ The causes of youths’ low news consumption and strategies for making youths happy news consumers. ’, Convergence, 15:1, pp. 10522.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Jeong, S. H.,, Cho, H., and Hwang, Y.. ( 2012;), ‘ Media literacy interventions: A meta-analytic review. ’, Journal of Communication, 62:3, pp. 45472.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Kim, Y.,, Chen, H. T., and Gil de Zúñiga, H.. ( 2013;), ‘ Stumbling upon news on the internet: Effects of incidental news exposure and relative entertainment use on political engagement. ’, Computers in Human Behavior, 29:6, pp. 260714.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Kleemans, M., and Eggink, G.. ( 2016;), ‘ Understanding news: The impact of media literacy education on teenagers’ news literacy. ’, Journalism Education, 5:1, pp. 7488.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Lancaster, K.,, Hughes, C. E., and Spicer, B.. ( 2012;), ‘ News media consumption among young Australians: Patterns of use and attitudes towards media reporting. ’, Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, 143, pp. 1627.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Lee, A.. ( 2013;), ‘ News audiences revisited: Theorizing the link between audience motivations and news consumption. ’, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57:3, pp. 30017.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Loader, B.,, Vromen, A., and Xenos, M. A.. ( 2014), The Networked Young Citizen: Social Media, Political Participation and Civic Engagement, Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society. , vol. 5, London:: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group;.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Madden, M.,, Lenhart, A., and Fontaine, C.. ( 2017), How Youth Navigate the News Landscape (eds S. John, and L. James.), Miami, FL:: Knight Foundation;.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Maksl, A.,, Ashley, S., and Craft, S.. ( 2015;), ‘ Measuring news media literacy. ’, Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6:3, pp. 2945.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Maksl, A.,, Ashley, S., and Craft, S.. ( 2016;), ‘ Measuring news media literacy. ’, The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6:3, pp. 2945.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Maksl, A.,, Craft, S.,, Ashley, S., and Miller, D.. ( 2017;), ‘ The usefulness of a news media literacy measure in evaluating a news literacy curriculum. ’, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 72:2, pp. 22841.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Malik, M.,, Cortesi, S., and Gasser, U.. ( 2013), The Challenges of Defining ‘News Literacy’, Cambridge, MA:: The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University;.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Marchi, R.. ( 2012;), ‘ With Facebook, blogs, and fake news, teens reject journalistic “objectivity”. ’, Journal of Communication Inquiry, 36:3, pp. 24662.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Martens, H., and Hobbs, R.. ( 2015;), ‘ How media literacy supports civic engagement in a digital age. ’, Atlantic Journal of Communication, 23:2, pp. 12037.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. McGrew, S.,, Ortega, T.,, Breakstone, J., and Wineburg, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ The challenge that’s bigger than fake news: Civic reasoning in a social media environment. ’, American Educator, 41:3, pp. 49.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. McWhorter, C.. ( 2019;), ‘ News media literacy: Effects of consumption. ’, International Journal of Communication, 13, pp. 483856.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. McWhorter, C.. ( 2020;), ‘ The role of agenda melding in measuring news media literacy. ’, Journal of Media Literacy Education, 12:1, pp.14558.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. The Media Insight Project ( 2015;), ‘ How millennials get news: Inside the habits of America’s first digital generation. ’, American Press Institute and AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Media-Insight-Millennials-Report-March-2015.pdf. Accessed 16 February 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Mihailidis, P., and Viotty, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ Spreadable spectacle in digital culture: Civic expression, fake news, and the role of media literacies in “post-fact” society. ’, American Behavioral Scientist, 61:4, pp. 44154.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Mindich, D.. ( 2005), Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News, New York:: Oxford University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Molyneux, L.. ( 2018;), ‘ Mobile news consumption: A habit of snacking. ’, Digital Journalism, 6:5, pp. 63450.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Morrison, R., and Barton, G.. ( 2018;), ‘ Search engine use as a literacy in the middle years: The need for explicit instruction and active learners. ’, Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 26:3, pp. 3747.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Munasinghe, S.,, Sperandei, S.,, Freebairn, L.,, Conroy, E.,, Jani, H.,, Marjanovic, S., and Page, A.. ( 2020;), ‘ The impact of physical distancing policies during the COVID-19 pandemic on health and well-being among Australian adolescents. ’, Journal of Adolescent Health, 67:5, pp. 65361.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Nettlefold, J.. ( 2018;), ‘ Media literacy: A growing collaborative effort in the age of platforms. ’, Australian Journalism Review, 40:1, pp. 6579.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Notley, T., and Dezuanni, M.. ( 2019;), ‘ Advancing children’s news media literacy: Learning from the practices and experiences of young Australians. ’, Media, Culture and Society, 41:5, pp. 689707.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Notley, T.,, Dezuanni, M.,, Zhong, H. F., and Howden, S.. ( 2017;), ‘ News and Australian children: how young people access, perceive and are affected by the news. ’, Crinkling News, Sydney:: Western Sydney University and Queensland University of Technology;, https://eprints.qut.edu.au/116092/1/News%2Band%2BAustralian%2Bchildren.pdf. Accessed 14 January 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Notley, T.,, Dezuanni, M.,, Zhong, H. F., and Chambers, S.. ( 2020;), ‘ News and young Australians in 2020. ’, Crinkling News, Sydney: Western Sydney University and Queensland University of Technology, https://eprints.qut.edu.au/116092/1/News%2Band%2BAustralian%2Bchildren.pdf. Accessed 14 January 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Park, S.,, Fisher, C.,, Lee, J. Y.,, McGuinness, K.,, Sang, Y.,, O’Neil, M.,, Jensen, M.,, McCallum, K., and Fuller, G.. ( 2020;), ‘ Digital news report: Australia 2020. ’, Reuters Institute and University of Canberra, https://www.canberra.edu.au/research/faculty-research-centres/nmrc/digital-news-report-australia-2021. Accessed 9 January 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Peacock, C., and Leavitt, P.. ( 2016;), ‘ Engaging young people: Deliberative preferences in discussions about news and politics. ’, Social Media and Society, 2016, 2:1, pp. 111.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Poindexter, P.. ( 2012), Millennials, News, and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?, New York:: Peter Lang;.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Potter, J.. ( 2004), Theory of Media Literacy: A Cognitive Approach, Thousand Oaks, CA:: Sage;.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Purtill, J.. ( 2021;), ‘ Facebook thinks it won the battle of the media bargaining code: But so does the government. ’, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-02-26/facebook-google-who-won-battle-news-media-bargaining-code/13193106. Accessed 26 February 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Qayyum, M. A.,, Williamson, K.,, Liu, Y. H., and Hider, P.. ( 2010;), ‘ Investigating the news seeking behavior of young adults. ’, Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 41:3, pp. 17891.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Reichert, F., and Print, M.. ( 2017;), ‘ Mediated and moderated effects of political communication on civic participation. ’, Information, Communication & Society, 20:8, pp. 116284.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Roy Morgan ( 2016;), ‘ 9 in 10 Aussie teens now have a mobile. ’, http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6929-australian-teenagers-and-their-mobile-phones-june-2016-201608220922. Accessed 10 January 2021.
  63. Schofield Clark, L., and Marchi, R.. ( 2017), Young People and the Future of News: Young People and the Rise of Connective Journalism, Cambridge:: Cambridge University Press;.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Spurgeon, C.,, Ferrier, L.,, Gunders, L., and Graham, P.. ( 2012;), ‘ Young citizens, values and new/s media. ’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26:6, pp. 91122.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Sternberg, J.. ( 1998;), ‘ Rating youth: A statistical review of young Australians news media use. ’, Australian Studies in Journalism, 7:1998, pp. 84136.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Tamboer, S. L.,, Kleemans, M., and Daalmans, S.. ( 2020;), ‘ “We are a neeeew generation”: Early adolescents’ views on news and news literacy. ’, Journalism, 23:4, pp. 117, https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884920924527. Accessed 28 April 2022.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Tully, M.,, Maksl, A.,, Ashley, S.,, Vraga, E.,, Craft, S.. ( 2021;), ‘ Defining and conceptualizing news literacy. ’, Journalism, March, https://doi.org/10.1177/14648849211005888, pp. 118. Accessed 24 August 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Vaala, S. E., and Bleakley, A.. ( 2015;), ‘ Monitoring, mediating, and modeling: Parental influence on adolescent computer and Internet use in the United States. ’, Journal of Children and Media, 9:1, pp. 4057.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Valenzuela, S.,, Bachmann, I., and Aguilar, M.. ( 2019;), ‘ Socialized for news media use: How family communication, information-processing needs, and gratifications determine adolescents’ exposure to news. ’, Communication Research, 46:8, pp. 1095118.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Weerakkody, N.. ( 2015), Research Methods for Media and Communication, Melbourne:: Oxford University;.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Wilkinson, S.. ( 2004;), ‘ Focus group research. ’, in D. Silverman. (ed.), Qualitative Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, pp. 17799, Thousand Oaks, CA:: Sage;.
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Blakston, Angela, and Waller, Lisa. ( 2022;), ‘ “It’s always there”: A study of the sources and motivations for Australian teens’ news consumption. ’, Australian Journalism Review, 44:1, pp. 10116, https://doi.org/10.1386/ajr_00090_7
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1386/ajr_00090_7
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error