Rethinking the generational gap in online news use: An infrastructural perspective

Harsh Taneja*, Angela Xiao Wu, Stephanie Edgerly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study investigates the role of infrastructures in shaping online news usage by contrasting use patterns of two social groups—millennials and boomers—that are specifically located in news infrastructures. Typically based on self-reported data, popular press and academics tend to highlight the generational gap in news usage and link it to divergence in values and preferences of the two age cohorts. In contrast, we conduct relational analyses of shared usage obtained from passively metered usage data across a vast range of online news outlets for millennials and boomers. We compare each cohort’s usage networks comprising various types of news websites. Our analyses reveal a smaller than commonly assumed generational gap in online news usage, with characteristics that manifest the multifarious effects of the infrastructures of the media environment, alongside those of preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1792-1812
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Keywords

  • Boomers
  • infrastructure
  • legacy media
  • millennials
  • news preferences
  • online news
  • political polarization
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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