Is digital slow journalism valued? An analysis of its audience in Spain

Miren Manias-Muñoz, Itsaso Manias-Muñoz, Amaia Alvarez-Berastegi


Due to the emergence of rapid information consumption habits, journalism has been submerged into a deep crisis of credibility. There is a need to rethink the direction of the sector and find ways in which the relevance of journalism can be renewed. Slow journalism advocates a slow, thoughtful and sustainable approach to the production and consumption of news. This research analyses consumer habits of Spanish readers of journalism in general, and digital slow journalism in particular, through a structured questionnaire. Results show that the digital press is the habitual media of the analysed population to stay informed about current affairs. Despite the value that slow journalism has obtained, there is a lack of knowledge about the type of journalism that is being consumed: only 40% claim to have read or heard about it. Those who do read slow press spend a limited amount of time on it (between 15-30 minutes), so the patterns of ‘fast’ reading typical of the traditional media are repeated in slow journalism and the audience attraction and retaining capacity of slow journalism is still limited. Additionally, the vast majority of the analysed population are not willing to pay for slow journalism (73%), which is an obstacle to establishing a business model for this new media trend. However, there is a strong willingness to pay among the readers of slow press, where 45% would readily pay for it. Finally, there are significant differences in terms of the age and educational level of the readers analysed, and our findings evidence the need for further audience research in order to improve the interaction between digital slow journalism and its own audience as well as to develop innovative promotional strategies.

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