This study looked at categories of interactivity, patterns of online newspaper readers’ uses of interactive features, and factors that predict the use of different types of interactive features.


Based on an online survey of 542 respondents, four categories of interactive features were identified. Findings show that interactive features are generally used infrequently, especially the features that facilitate human-to-human communication and the features that allow audiences to express their views.


Chang says that interactivity allows the reader to become more involved in the news. Online news affords the reader more control and bigger choice – something that’s lacking in traditional media.


Chang then looks at the numerous definitions of interactivity.

Medium interactivity, also known as user-to-system/ document or content interactivity is interactive communication between users and technology that is based on the nature of the technology itself and what the technology allows users to do.


Human interactivity, also known as user-to-user or interpersonal interactivity, on the other hand, is communication between two or more users that takes place through a communication channel.


Stromer-Galley considers human interactivity to be more interactive than medium interactivity.


Human interactivity is the difference between traditional news and online news in that the audience can participate through interpersonal communication.


Chang’s study brought little surprises. People who are comfortable on the net are also the ones that are more inclined to participate on the net. They are also the people that read more (traditional media). In other words they are the people that are more involved and more interested in their surroundings.


Although Chang’s study has some inherent flaws as pointed out by the author herself she finds that to deliver quality news reporting to build credibility of the news organization and subsequently encourage audiences to actively participate in the online news is of critical importance.


And although the study provides somewhat discouraging results to the initial enthusiasm about online news and the application of interactivity through the adoption of interactive features, news organisations that are sincerely interested in communicating with their news audiences should not discard their efforts in applying interactivity, she says.


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