Why do we click? Investigating reasons for user selection on a news aggregator website

Sabrina Heike Kessler 1  and Ines Engelmann 2
  • 1 IKMZ – Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2 Institute of Communication Research, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Sabrina Heike Kessler
  • Corresponding author
  • IKMZ – Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
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and Ines Engelmann

Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyze the reasons behind users’ selection of news results on the news aggregator website, Google News, and the role that news factors play in this selection. We assume that user’s cognitive elaboration of users influences their news selection. In this study, a multi-method approach is used to obtain a complete picture of the users’ news selection reasoning: an open survey, a closed survey, and a content analysis of screen recording data. The results were determined from online news selection of 90 news results from 47 users on Google News. Different news values could be identified as relevant for selection: time-referenced news factors and news factors of social significance were shown to be more important than the news factors of deviance. News cues (presence of a picture, position of a news result, source) were identified as selection reasons regardless of the level of cognitive elaboration during the online browsing process.

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