We are what we click: Understanding time and content-based habits of online news readers

Mykola Makhortykh, Natali Helberger, Jaron Harambam, Dimitrios Bountouridis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The article contributes both conceptually and methodologically to the study of online news consumption by introducing new approaches to measuring user information behaviour and proposing a typology of users based on their click behaviour. Using as a case study two online outlets of large national newspapers, it employs computational approaches to detect patterns in time- and content-based user interactions with news content based on clickstream data. The analysis of interactions detects several distinct timelines of news consumption and scrutinises how users switch between news topics during reading sessions. Using clustering analysis, the article then identifies several types of news readers (e.g. samplers, gourmets) and examines their news diets. The results point out the limited variation in topical composition of the news diets between different types of readers and the tendency of these diets to align with the news supply patterns (i.e. the average distribution of topics covered by the outlet).

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Clickstream
  • digital news
  • information behaviour
  • legacy media
  • news consumption
  • news diets

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