auDA funds study looking at how older people access online news

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is conducting new research about the ways older people view online news, with the aim of developing ways to keep news accessible to all citizens.

USC Senior Lecturer Dr Renee Barnes, who leads USC’s Journalism Program, received $10,000 in funding from the .au Domain Administration (auDA) Foundation to investigate how older Australians are engaging with online news.

“On one hand we have news increasingly moving towards digital platforms, with more content being delivered solely online, but on the other hand we have Australia’s ageing population and the potential barriers they face,” Dr. Barnes said.

“If journalists are to ensure public debate at all levels of the community and intergenerational access to the news, we need to make sure people of all ages are involved.

“It’s not just about how older people use computers or mobile devices but how they feel in terms of finding news and interacting with news online.”

Through her research, Dr Barnes, who has worked for media organisations including the ABC, The Age and Australian Associated Press, will help develop a set of principles for the journalism industry to use when presenting and distributing news online.

The auDA foundation is a charitable trust promoting education and research into the use of the Internet for the benefit of the Australian community.

This particular program, the auDA foundation states, is “to investigate older Australians’ views on the presentation and distribution of news online, and develop a set of principles for the future development of online news delivery in Australia.”

“This project aims to ensure that Australia’s ageing population has their needs taken into account in the presentation and distribution of news online.

“Using the data collected from the survey and focus groups, [Barnes and USC] will develop a set of principles reflecting the needs and values of older Australians in relation to online news, which will be widely distributed to the media industry.”

Dr. Barnes is seeking survey participants in the Sunshine Coast region.

People aged aged 50 or older can participate here.

Hard copies of the survey are available at U3A (University of the Third Age), on the USC campus at Sippy Downs.

The survey closes on March 3.

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