Citizen journalism – Latin America takes the lead

Posted on April 12, 2012

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Attitudes to user-generated content differ around the world, with Latin America leading the world for ‘citizen journalism’, according to new research. 47% of internet users in Brazil and 44% in Argentina read UGC on newspaper websites, compared to only 35% in the UK and 26% in Germany, according to the study from Kantar Media.

The apparent ubiquity of social networking raises questions about the relevance of traditional news providers. Even the most nimble publisher struggles to keep up with ‘citizen journalists’ on the ground, who can Tweet updates as they happen.

As newspaper publishers enter a new era, Kantar Media’s Global TGI believes newspapers have a key role to play in this changing landscape, but recognises that business models need to change to incorporate direct audience interaction.

Recent research by the company provides publishers with insight to inform their strategies by showing the different social media habits of people around the world. In terms of engaging with user generated content (UGC), the number of internet users reading articles or comment varies significantly by country, with Latin America featuring strongly.

47% of internet users in Brazil and 44% in Argentina read UGC on newspaper websites, compared to only 35% in GB and 26% in Germany.

Not all countries have high levels of user interaction however. Latin American countries again show the highest rates of activity in submitting articles or comment on the websites of newspaper publishers, with 27% in Brazil and 26% in Argentina. This drops to only 17% in Germany and 12% in GB.

Geoff Wicken, Head of TGI International at Kantar Media comments: “Today’s digital world has enabled consumers to move from being passive recipients of news coverage to playing an interactive role in how news is distributed. While the doomsayers take this to signal the end of the traditional newspaper, savvy publishers understand that they need to encourage and engage with people providing content, and use it as means of underpinning their role in this ‘Brave New World’. At the same time, as demonstrated by our research, it is critical for global publishers to adapt their strategy by region.”

Kantar Media’s Global TGI Net provides further insight for publishers, as well as brand owners. When asked how important it was that they trusted the websites they visited in general, internet users in the Middle East were more likely to agree, with 82% in Saudi Arabia and 80% in Kuwait confirming this. In Latin America trust is less of an issue, with Brazil showing 73% agreement and Argentina only 71% – a factor that may help to explain the acceptance and willingness to contribute to content.

“The trust that people have in online content differs country by country. This is a key consideration for publishers wanting to incorporate material from users. In some regions it is clearly important to verify the source, whereas in other places, different priorities take precedence,” concludes Wicken.

Appendix

% of internet users reading UGC comment/article on newspaper websites
• Brazil – 47%
• Argentina – 44%
• Mexico – 41%
• United Arab Emirates – 39%
• Spain – 38%
• France – 36%
• Great Britain – 35%
• Saudi Arabia – 35%
• Germany – 26%
• Kuwait – 26%

% of internet users submitting articles/comment on newspaper websites
• Brazil – 27%
• Argentina – 26%
• Mexico – 23%
• Spain – 19%
• Germany – 17%
• United Arab Emirates – 15%
• Great Britain – 12%
• France – 12%
• Kuwait – 8%
• Saudi Arabia – 5%

% of internet users agreeing ‘it is important to trust the websites I visit’
• Saudi Arabia – 82%
• Kuwait – 80%
• Great Britain – 79%
• France – 78%
• UAE – 78%
• Brazil – 73%
• Argentina –71%
• Mexico – 71%
• Germany – 68%
• Spain – 66%

Source: www.kantarmedia.com

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