Media Production and Reading Culture Among Young Adults

Subject: Psychology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2694
Topics: Communication, Adolescence, Computer Science, Ethics


Background of the study

In the recent past there has been an increase in the interest on the research on young people and children with regard to their usage of digital games, social media and interest. There are those studies which have revealed there being diversity in young people and children’s media activities and their multitasking preference coupled with their simultaneous usage of varying media. Nonetheless there are those researches which have provided a different outlook by noting that young people and children completely lack the creativity and activeness. It is important to note that content creation can be termed as the act of making videos, images, texts and publishing them for use by other people who are online (Cory and Collin 2009). We live at a time when participatory culture is different from what was previously termed as passive media spectatorship. Currently both consumers and producers are no longer undertaking separate roles and both therefore are seen as participants who have an active interaction with one another. Based on this collective intelligence has arisen and can be seen as the process of collecting information and idea development in a collection manner within the digital social media networks. 

The background of this study is one that can be termed as being multidisciplinary and as a result it is important to factor in the research in the communication research, media studies and media education and literacy fields (Kohl, 2008). As a result, it is important to approach media consumption and production from a text and reading practice aspect. It is important to note that reading can’t be termed to be a private cognitive activity but a socio-cultural phenomenon. The reading communities in the online environment and social media platforms have aided in making a transition from reading culture that is individualistic to one that a shared writing and reading practice. In this case reading can’t be separated amongst such a group as aspects such as communication, commenting and reworking of ideas being one that is merged with certain reading practices. 

Problem statement

Media production has in the recent past faced a lot of changes but little has been done to research on the evolution of a participatory culture in the online communities. The advent of social media platforms has allowed people interact more but has that meant that there are collaborative efforts when it comes to content production? The research will delve to investigate this phenomenon through analyzing the feedback provided by various respondents who are primarily termed as young adults. 

Aim of the research

The main purpose for this study to provide extensive empirical evidence that will support the idea of active audience.

Objectives of the study

To determine how recent developments in computer meditated communication and the shift in the media use can take place in the user generated production of content among the young adults.

To determine whether participation and collective intelligence are apparent in the respondents’ personal media production

Significance of the research

The findings of this research will certainly be of help in shedding light on the generation of content especially among the young adults. This information will therefore add to the already existing literature and therefore contribute to the discussion. With the changing landscape in media production, this research will be providing an up to date finding on the subject matter. Certainly the findings will act as a useful resource for future researchers undertaking a similar study. 

Literature Review

According to Metz (2009), the number of people accessing news services through traditional media is decreasing. In the period of Oct 2007 to March 2008, a 7.1% drop in newspaper readership and circulation was recorded in the USA. The number of people who watch evening television news in the US has recorded a steady decline from around 53 million in 1980 to about 28 million recorded in 2004. Ahlers (2006), however, argues that most people access news online to complement traditional media sources and not as an alternative. Gee and Hayes (2011) also notes that among young adults falling between the age of 18 to 29, only 18 percent of them watch night news networks and that only 23 percent get their daily news from newspapers. This lead him to the conclusion that young readers are not being catered for by traditional media sources and are thus choosing alternatives. Further their argument is supported by the trend of publishers making their online services more youth targeted. Kohl (2008) raise the question of whether online use among young adults results in young people who are not as informed as people who read newspapers. They argue that online activity in teenagers does not signify reading and thus does not mean the making of informed citizens. Catherine (2007) cites print newspaper reading programs in some institutions such as Pennsylvania state university in the US meant to develop informed and educated citizens. Some libraries are also digitizing old newspapers although mainly for research purposes and preservation of history (Casero-Ripolles, 2012). Some publishers have also begun to consider digitizing their old and new publications to be available to readers on new reading technologies such as Amazon kindle as well as for libraries as less people read print publications 

Factors that affect choice of media

One main factor that affects the young adult’s choice of media is credibility and trust. A survey conducted on over 8000 university students in the US found that most of them considered newspapers to be more credible than television news (Kiousis, 2009). A study of 1200 students in Belgium found that 48% considered newspapers to be a source of more comprehensive information than television (Armstrong and Collins, 2009). Newspaper readers were also found to show brand loyalty when they visited the internet with those buying a particular newspaper visiting the same paper’s website, Huang (2009), after a survey of young people aged 18-30 found that they had more trust in information provided on established news organization web sites than in other sites. Armstrong and Collins (2009) after a study on more than 1900 university students in Florida found that though the students were not highly likely to read newspapers, they considered them more credible than the older generation. Armstrong and Collins 2009) also found that that the perception that a newspaper’s or news organization’s content was relevant to the readers, it increased its credibility to them. Young people preferred a balance of entertainment and serious news according to Huang (2009).

Armstrong and Collins (2009) consider that newspapers need to have more background knowledge in order for them to get the message through to the reader. They consider that young adults are interested in being informed that as young people mature there could be a much larger shift towards print media. Depth of reporting is also a factor in young people’s choice of media according to Huang (2009). This has been consistent regardless of whether the subject matter is entertainment or for information. Students rarely read long stories and when they do so it is probably once a week according to Huang. He also adds that even when they do this it is when they are highly interested in the subject matter. Many young people read to counter boredom, for relaxation, or out of habit according to Casero-Ripollés (2012). He also notes that shorter articles were preferred with many employing the strategy of scanning. Huang also found that users searched online for particular topics which were quickly accessed. Newspapers on the other hand were read more thoroughly and less hurriedly. Parent’s influence has also been shown to influence how young people view reading print newspapers (Armstrong & Collins, 2009). This influence also impacted how they sought out their information and news. Other factors which were noted to affect young adult’s choice of media were accessibility, immediacy, and free cost .

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Control and customization in media consumption

Blekesaune and Aalberg (2010) found that students prefer to access their information from the internet as it gives them control over how they access media. Huang (2010) found that young people wanted news when they preferred it and to customize what information they accessed and how and when they receive it. Internet tools such as podcasts, blogs, message boards, and streaming were seen to be appealing to young readers (Blekesaune and Aalberg, 2010). Young people consume media where it is characterized with interaction with other users and contribution while the older generation preferred where news was produced by a small group of professional contributors according Casero-Ripolles (2012). He also found that young people gained literacy through interacting with the media while connecting with peers. He observes that communication is a major part of accessing information for young people 

Changes in media Production

Content creation is the making of text, images or video and publishing it for people to consume. The penetration of technology has made it possible for many people to create and publish content online according to Casiro Ripolles (2012). He considers that in modern times people have moved from consuming content in a passive spectator role to a situation where they are participating in media production. He also considers that unlike in the past where media producers and consumers took separate roles, consumers can now be seen as participants who are also producers. With the advent of social media, this has been made more of a reality with producers and consumers of content interacting with each other. Armstrong, Cory and Collin (2009) consider online communities to have become knowledge communities where affiliations develop based on common intellectual and emotional similarities between the content producer and the reader. They consider social media networks as a medium that has provided for the collective gathering of information and development of ideas. Social media websites and services have resulted in a situation where users produce the content or whereby they circulate the content from other sites People who read content on the internet and participate in discussions and communities have challenged traditional ways of accessing media, reading, and literacy according to Gee and Hayes (2011). Online communities have provided a productive platform where ordinary people are able to publish their produced media or are able to engage on a hobby or solve problems together 

Because the online environment presents an open and quite uncontrolled platform for content production and publishing, virtually any person can become a media content creator. This is especially true with the developments in modern software and technology. With the right applications and software, it has become quite easy to produce text images, and sound and edit them. Blekesaune, Elvestad, and Aalberg (2010) consider this to have made the internet a communication environment where participation and interaction is encouraged. The internet has made it possible for people to gather and develop ideas collectively according to Jenkins (2006). The expertise of the group has been seen to contribute to the final content for instance in the case of a hobbyists forum who share a common interest. Jenkins (2006) defines this as collective intelligence. Readers are more immersed in the content as they are participants in the subject matter. He further considers collective intelligence to be constantly enhanced and changed in real time and it is often universally distributed. Gee and Hayes (2011) argue that though technology and software has made possible for virtually anyone to produce and publish content, not every person is a capable media producer. In order for this to be the case, one has to have skills, quality content, and support from the environment. For this reason, most of the people are still mainly passive consumers of content rather than producers. Casero-Ripollés (2012) argues that many people do not necessarily use the internet in a creative way. Many people use the technology for passive consumption of media content. The internet provides them the opportunity to read, browse, and watch various professionally produced products.

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For the purposes of properly analyzing the subject matter, qualitative method of data collection will be preferred and in specific the research will rely on the use of questionnaires. These questionnaires will be divided into two sections with the first section being made up of questions that will help the researcher in deriving the respondents’ personal information. The second section of the questionnaire will be made up of questions pertaining to the subject matter that this research wants to investigate. It is important to note that both open ended and close ended questions will be used in the questionnaires. The importance of open ended questions is that they will allow the researcher to gain quality and wide information from the researcher while on the other hand close ended questions will help the researcher in easy analysis of the answers. The questionnaire will be administered via which is an online website that provides a platform through which researcher can conducts survey. Through this website the researcher will draft the questions that will be used in the survey and subsequently invite respondents to take part in the research through either email or through the social media platforms with Facebook being the most preferred. Another advantage of this website is that it will help in the data analysis of the information received and therefore save time in the presentation of the findings.

The sample size targeted for this research will be 30 people who will be made up of persons below 25 years. The time period that will be set aside for the data collection will be two weeks which is sufficient time for the respondents to take part in the survey and hand it back. It is important to note that the research philosophy that will guide this research will be based on the philosophy of interpretivism which will tend to respect the interest and feelings of individuals towards a given phenomenon. Further this philosophy utilizes instruments, language and consciousness in the acknowledgement of these assumptions. One advantage of this philosophy is that it doesn’t just provide reports on facts but rather utilizes methods in attempting to analyze them. Therefore, the researcher will attempt to make sense of subjective and socially construed meanings that will be expressed with regard to the subject matter. 

The limitations that have been identified with regard to research methodology are that the sample size is too small which means that the research findings may fail to be conclusive or even provide an accurate representation of subject matter. However, the researcher will endeavor to collect information from respondents that have clear understanding on the media production especially among the young population.  To ensure reliability of the research findings, standard questionnaires will be administered to all respondents to make sure that if a similar study is to be undertaken by another researcher, the findings would be similar.

Ethical considerations

Some of the ethical considerations that the researcher will take into account will include confidentiality, consent and security. Based on consent the researcher will first seek permission from the respondents through well drafted consent letters. These letters will outline the purposes of the research and also outline how their information would be utilized in the research process. Further the consent letters will tend to outline that the information provided by respondents will only be utilized for the purposes of the research and in case it will be used for other matters, the researcher will communicate with respondents with regard to it. Based on confidentiality the personal information of the respondents will be kept private and pseudonyms will be used in place of their names when the researcher will want to refer to them in the analysis section. Based on security all information that will be collected from the respondents will be stored safely and a password set to lock out unauthorized users from accessing them. 

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Research timetable 

Based on the chart below it is clear that the research will take place over a five-week period which will commence from 1st May 2018. There are different tasks that will be undertaken and the chart provides a clear depiction of the timeline of each task. 

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Research proposal drafting
Analysing relevant literature
Methodology drafting
Data collection process
Data analysis
Findings presentation
Final report review and presentation


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  1. Ahlers, Douglas. 2006. News consumption and new electronic media. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 11 (1): 29-52. 
  2. Armstrong, Cory, L., and Collins, Steve J. 2009. Reaching out: newspaper credibility among young adult readers. Mass Communication and Society 12(1): 97-114.
  3. Blekesaune, A., Elvestad, E. and Aalberg, T., 2010. Tuning out the world of news and current affairs—An empirical study of Europe’s disconnected citizens. European Sociological Review, 28(1), pp.110-126.
  4. Casero-Ripollés, A., 2012. Beyond newspapers: news consumption among young people in the digital era. Comunicar, 39(20), pp.151-158.
  5. Catherine, Grigor. 2007. Latest library news from Penn State includes two administrative hires. Pennsylvania Library Association Bulletin 62(1): 16.
  6. Gee, James Paul, Elisabeth Hayes, 2011 Language and Learning in the Digital Age, Abingdon: Routledge,.
  7. Huang, Edgar. 2009. The causes of youths’ low news consumption and strategies for making youths happy news consumers. Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 15(1): 105-122.
  8. Jenkins, H, 2006 Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York: New York University Press,.
  9. Kiousis, S. 2009. Public trust or mistrust? Perceptions of media credibility in the information age. Mass Communications and Society, 4(4): 381-403.
  10. Kohl, Jesse. 2008. Beyond the printed page: As newspapers move deeper into the mobile and online space, strategy checked in with Canada’s national newspaper warriors to find out what’s working. Strategy Feb. 2008: pp. 27-29.
  11. Metz, Rachel. 2009. Newspaper circulation decline picks up speed. USA Today, April 27, 2009. Accessed May 3 2018.
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