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Young People's News Use in Portugal

The next speaker in this ECREA 2012 session is Maria José Brites, whose interest is in young people's perspectives on the news. So far, much journalism research has focussed on the point of view of news producers than audiences; this is true especially for young people's attitudes towards journalism – there is a real need particularly for more longitudinal and participatory studies here.

Maria's work engages with Portuguese youth between 15 and 20 years of age who participate in school parliament programmes, party youth organisations, graffiti, or school newspapers, and/or come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Youths were also asked to interview their peers.

Key dimensions of this research examined youths' news consumption, their attitudes towards political news, their participation in political affairs, and the democratic representation of journalism. Consumption of news – as examined in 2010 – was mainly through television, as well as indirectly through their parents; there was a ritual of watching TV with parents. Journalism – especially on TV – was seen to fulfil an important democratic function.

The Net is used also to share news; youths are versatile consumers who access news in a targetted fashion, and share stories of interest with their friends. Youths generally saw themselves as a digital generation – but in their answers and their actions, television still dominated.