ARTICLE: Information overload makes readers willing to pay for news

Untitled by Jan Vašek, licence CC0 1.0

People who feel overloaded by news information are more willing to pay for news, write Sun Kyong Lee and Nathan J. Lindsey, both of University of Oklahoma, with Kyun Soo Kim, of Chonnam National University. The authors surveyed 1 001 Americans over their news consumption habits, views on news, and their “perceived news information overload”.

Previous research had indicated that accessing news via social media affects various aspects of news consumption behaviour and attitudes. Lee, Lindsey and Kim wanted to investigate whether the readers’ information overload (or lack thereof) moderates these effects. Their results suggest several, notable moderation effects.

For example, accessing news on social media increases the audience’s willingness to pay for news, but especially for those who feel overwhelmed by the amount of news on offer. Similarly, these overloaded readers tend to be more selective in their news exposure, while less strained readers are more content to consume whatever comes their way.

Interestingly, the overloaded audience seems to be less skeptical of traditional journalistic norms. Only those social media savvy readers who are at ease with the deluge of news tend to disagree with claims like “a good journalist is neutral”. Those feeling overloaded may simply not have the cognitive energy left to question these norms, the authors suggest.

The article “The effects of news consumption via social media and news information overload on perceptions of journalistic norms and practices” was published by the journal Computers in Human Behavior. It is available online on the publisher’s website (abstract free), or on (open access).

Picture: Untitled by Jan Vašek, licence CC0 1.0.

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