Newsscape Blog

23.11.2016 10:10
The next step of development for digital news is that it is being tied back to the user's immediate surroundings and everyday activities. Microlocality,

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22.11.2016 – By Jacob Mickelsson

5-second-summary-blog3.pngHow do news link to the things that actually happen around us in our everyday lives? Sometimes we think about news as interpreting the world around us, but keeping the events at arms distance. What does this mean? For example, a news story about the block where you live is directly related to your life, but the events in the story have been interpreted and generalized by a reporter to suit a broad audience, and so the story does not feel like it has to do with you personally. Moreover, most news stories aren’t about your neighborhood. Digital services, however, have the potential of tying news directly to your own life: Your interests, your immediate surroundings, and your interaction with the world around you. However, to understand this phenomenon requires a little background on how digital services have developed.

The first major result of digitalization seemed to be that services became separated from our physical surroundings. You did not need to go to the bank to manage your accounts anymore, and you did not need to go to a store to buy electronics or clothes – you could just order them through a device in your home. But currently, we are experiencing a new and still ongoing step of development: After the initial shift to a non-physical and locationless digital services, we are now paradoxically being reconnected to our immediate physical surroundings. What does this mean?

30.6.2016 14:56

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30.6.2016 - By Jacob Mickelsson

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Why have people traditionally been reading their newspapers during breakfast in the morning? The answer is obvious: It is a result of practical circumstances. Morning is when the newspaper usually arrived. Also, it is a physical, cumbersome object, which tends to anchor it to a certain time and place. This leads to a certain type of everyday routine.

Digital news does not function this way. The question of when and where you read news on your smartphone may even be somewhat difficult to answer. This is because the answer basically boils down to “whenever it’s convenient”, or “when I’m bored”. Indeed, a study by the Reuters Institute finds that younger consumers are less likely to see news consumption as a part of their daily habit. Circumstances have never forced them to form stable routines. Thus, they are more likely to emphasize the role of news as a time-killer.

However, despite digital news being less tied to daily routines, is still habit-forming. Instead of a manageable physical object (such as a newspaper) that provides the boundaries for a particular batch of news stories, the natural format for digital news is a continuously updated and ongoing stream. This results in what has been called the “checking-habit”. Such habits are not tied to specific times and places, but run throughout the day. The habit is also dependent on instant gratification. Each time you check the news stream, you expect to feel something. This emphasizes the short-term and experiential aspects of digital news consumption.

14.6.2016 11:44
Imagine sitting down with your morning newspaper and a coffee. For many, this thought is tinted with a certain nostalgia. It evokes an exclusive relationship between you and the newspaper, a situation where you are devoted to one particular activity: Reading. For current news consumers, this type of situation is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Why is this?
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By Jacob Mickelsson - 13.06.2016

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Imagine sitting down with your morning newspaper and a coffee. For many, this thought is tinted with a certain nostalgia. It evokes an exclusive relationship between you and the newspaper, a situation where you are devoted to one particular activity: Reading. For current news consumers, this type of situation is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Why is this?

Our newsscapes are changing. ‘Newsscape’ refers to consumers’ landscapes of news provision, that is, newspapers, websites, newsfeeds etc. It has been argued that we are currently living in a post-channel media world, where traditional distribution channels are dissolving. In the past, technological restrictions led to clear and centralized channels for distributing news. If you wanted to distribute news, you needed to have your own printing press or TV-channel. If you wanted to consume news, you had to buy a newspaper or a TV-set. Now, this picture has broken down. We have moved beyond the world of separate, controlled channels: The channel is now the Internet, which belongs to no-one (so far, at least). The whole idea of “distribution” has changed. What consequences does this have, then, for news consumption?

The first thing to understand is, that the form of the technology guides the form of the service. What does this mean? ‘News’, as we used to understand it, was by and large a result of the emergence of the printing press. Printing made it possible to report on events from near and far on a mass scale, and people, being curious, bought and read the newspapers. Economies of scale (that is, printing more means lower costs per unit) and symbiosis with advertisers made the whole endeavor very profitable, as well as an industry for the few. And so the status quo reigned for many years. The papers had to be filled with stories, and people usually wanted to read them.