YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR PRACTICES OF ACCESS AND CONSUMPTION OF NEWS IN SOCIAL MEDIA

I. Amaral1, P. Silveira2

1Instituto Superior Miguel Torga / Communication and Society Research Centre (PORTUGAL)
2Comunication and Society Research Centre / IADE / Universidade Católica Portuguesa (PORTUGAL)
The transformations in the media landscape and their implications for the use of the media by the younger generations have been the object of study of several researches. Several studies on this problematic argue that young people are apathetic and have lack of interest in the "serious" issues of society and the world, such as lack of motivation to follow up on these topics. Assuming this theoretical framework, this paper aims to understand the ways of appropriation that young adults do of social media and how these can be as means for monitoring current events, as well as developing media literacy and civic participation.

From the methodological point of view, this research involved the development of four focus groups among 24 Portuguese university students from the Coimbra and Lisbon areas, from different family and social backgrounds. The methodological strategy developed focused on issues that guide the focus groups, fostering the discussion of themes and the identification of practices and contexts.

The guiding themes were divided into four blocks:
i) type of interest and preferences in relation to current consumption in social media;
ii) perception of the concept of news;
iii) engagement with information channels in social media;
iv) news consumption practices in social media and civic engagement. For framing of the context of the participants and their digital media consumption, we also used the implementation of an individual questionnaire.

The main conclusions reveal a passive and almost exclusive consumption of online information, skepticism and disbelief in relation to traditional media, distrust of digital media, generalization of the idea of "fake news", very reduced civic engagement and disbelief in the relevance of active participation, and perception that the younger generations are not audiences of the news.