ISSN 1051-0834 ©

Exploring Perspectives of Students Studying Communication Toward Media Access and Use: A Q Methodological Study
Written by Angel Riggs, Diane Montgomery, and Cindy Blackwell   

Abstract

This study sought to help communication educators better understand young news consumers who have grown up among a plethora of media options. To better reach and educate today’s up-and-coming media professionals, those in the industry need a better understanding of modern media students’ perspectives of news. This study used Q methodology and relies on Stephenson’s Play and Dutta-Bergman’s Media Complementarity theories. Students on a large, comprehensive university campus pursuing undergraduate studies via a communications-related major were asked to complete a Q sort and demographic instrument. Thirty-four participants resulted in 33 usable sorts. The following labels were applied to the three perceptions found in this study: Old-school Media Hounds; Sensational Snippets; and Complimentary Convergers. Old-school Media Hounds tend to be more traditionally news oriented, with a strong appreciation for newspapers’ role as government watchdog. Sensational Snippets tend to seek their news in convenient bits and pieces, often from non-traditional news sources. Complimentary Convergers are similar to Old-school Media Hounds in their views of the press; for example, they appreciate the role of the press as government watchdog. However, they do not prefer one media channel more than another, but expect to obtain credible news information free of charge. Recommendations for educators include suggestions for classroom adaptations in response to three perspectives.

 

Keywords: Media, News, Q methodology, Usage

 

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