Conceptualizing Media Generations: The Print, Online and Individualized Generations

Oscar Westlund, Mathias A. Färdigh


During the 1990s news publishers established an online presence and in the 2000s they developed cross-media news work. This has resulted in changing news accessing habits, with varied magnitude among generations. This article aims to construct theoretically sound news media generations, through statistical analysis of data from a nationally representative scientific omnibus survey conducted in 2010. Firstly the article presents a descriptive and explanatory analysis of how eight generational cohorts utilize news in print and/or online and/or mobile. Secondly these findings are used for merging the generational cohorts into a conceptualization involving three media generations. The print generation (1920s- 1940s) shows high probability (70%) and scored its highest value for reading only printed newspaper (Pearson’s r = .135). The online generation (1950s-1970s) shows high probability (66%) and scored highest of online only news accessing (Pearson’s r = .135). The heterogeneous news usage patterns exhibited by the individualized generation (1980s-1990s) were accommodated for by two cohorts. The online cohort shows high probability for online-only news usage (60%) and a positive correlation (Pearson’s r = .065). The cross-media cohort marks high probability for cross-media use (77%) and the highest value for cross-media use (Pearson’s r = .141).


media generation; news consumption; print generation; online generation; cross-media; Karl Mannheim; complementary effects; displacing effects

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