Missing the Big Wave: Citizens’ Discourses Against the Participatory Formats Adopted by News Media


Users’ participation in news media websites has attracted great attention by academia in recent years. Nevertheless, studies about participatory journalism have traditionally been focused on the study of the participatory options offered by news media, or the attitudes of journalists towards the participatory options offered to the users. Just in recent years research started to be focused on the users themselves and their attitudes towards being involved in online participatory practices. This research presents the findings of a qualitative study based on focus groups conducted in Spain about citizens’ attitudes in relation to the participatory options offered by news media websites. Results point towards a general critique about how news media are implementing online participation, despite being news media websites “natural” online environments to foster participatory energies and the main spaces where citizens gather information about public issues. Focus groups also showed a minor interest in options of content production or content personalization, together with a higher demand for suitable spaces for public debate and interaction with journalists or the newsroom.

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