Consumer Behaviour in Digital News Consumption

While the consumption of online news is increasing and analytical tools allow website owners to know which sections of their websites are being visited, it is unknown which topics on all Dutch news websites are being visited during the whole day. Do news users, e.g., read news about soccer in the morning at, articles about politics at during lunch break and gossip at in the evening?

In the context of the NWO-project The New News Consumer, a Newstracker has been developed by Marco Otto, chief technology Officer of the Tech Labs of the Network Institute. This tracker both monitors all visited news websites of a group of respondents as well as scrapes all the contents of the visited websites. Moreover, in the RTreporter project algorithms have been devised to aid news reporters in detecting newsworthy messages at an early stage on Twitter by using a rudimentary topic detection algorithm. This proposal aims at combining the gained knowledge of both projects by automatically detecting the topics of the visited websites based on its crawled content and to analyze this data. This will allow us to answer the main research question: which news topics are digitally consumed and does the topical news consumption change during the day?

In the first phase of the project the fieldwork of the Newstracker will take place by installing the Newstracker on the computers of the participants (assistant A) and the algorithm to detect the topics in the visited news articles will be developed (assistant B) and trained (assistant A+B). In the second phase of the project the topics of the crawled contents of the websites will be determined by the algorithm (assistant B) and statistical analyses will be made of the topical news consumption over the day (assistant A+B).