Online news reading behavior: From habitual reading to stumbling upon news



The Internet and new technologies are changing the information behavior of news readers. This study explored the perception of news and online news reading behavior by applying Savolainen's (1995) model of Everyday Life Information Seeking. Online news readers participated in a two-phase mixed method study. The first phase involved a web survey with 148 participants recruited through the website of a local newspaper and the second phase followed up with think-aloud interviews with 20 survey respondents.

The findings revealed that while for some respondents the perception of news is tied to traditional media, another group held a much broader view that went beyond what is reported by professional journalists. These respondents considered “all of the Internet” as news.

Findings of this study indicate that that online news reading mostly happens on a habitual basis without conscious decisions from news consumers. Many respondents stated that they follow the same routine of reading news online at specific times every day and monitor news throughout the day. However, for many respondents incidental exposure to online news is becoming a typical way to get informed about the new events.