10.4185/RLCS-2016-1138en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS # 71 | 2016 | |
Contribution of users in building digital content in the mainstream media of the Andean Community
The participation of users in the media has been historically constant. It is true that traditional media: Radio, TV and Press have had many limitations. However, for some years it has begun a process of change in journalistic products, the journalistic profession and especially in the relationship with users.
With the advent of the Web, users are more likely to interact in the network, they can even browse the various social networks, and they can appropriate one way or another Technologies of Information and Communication, contributing lately to creating their own content. According to a study on the motives of the users to contribute content, the need for recognition appears as a fundamental element: "The Respondents believed that through the content-generation online process, they would have the opportunity to be Recognized, gain respect, publicize their expertise, learn more of the world, socialize with friends and be entertained "(Leung, 2009: 1337).
The pioneering work of Dan Gillmor 'We the Media. Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People' and Chris Willis and Shayne Bowman We Media. ‘How audiences are shaping the future of news and information’, helped to highlight the central factor in this new scenario: audiences, public, and people are the new actors in the work of public communication, which is no longer being starred exclusively by the established media and professional communicators (Orihuela, 2006: 182).
The origin of digital media dates back to 1979, in Birmingham (UK), here comes the first Viewtel 202 digital newspaper, its pages were transmitted by Prestel teletext system (Armentia et al., 2000). Today digital journalism has been consolidated using tools that break barriers of time and place, including: immediacy, interactivity, updating, multimedia, hypertext, among others. This research focuses on interactivity and user contributions.
Digital media in Latin America (Salaverría, 2016: 21) states:
From Interaction to content generation
eferring to the concept of interaction, we can say that it is the ability to present tools that allow users to interact. It is one of the most notable virtues or qualities of online journalism. Created by López, Gago and Pereira (2002: 81) as "the ability of the users to act on the multimedia product presented to them". In this sense Jaime Alonso and Lourdes Martínez (2003: 288-289) state: "in digital media the user experiences a major change from the traditional press. In a generic approach, it can be said that users take on a more active role covering two aspects: first, they participate in the creation of the information process; secondly, they allow to discover more unknown communication spaces up to now."
"Interactivity has become one of the most important features in the relationship between readers and the media with an Internet presence. Virtually every successful online product must necessarily have this feature to grow and capture the interest of users "(Luján, 2002-2003). Thus in Interactivity, we should consider three main factors: the type of audience, purpose and accessibility.
Jens Jensen (1998) theoretically expands the possibilities given by the interaction by defining the concept as the degree that the media potentially has in order to allow the users to influence their content and form. In this sense, it mentions four levels of interactivity according to the degree of participation and control by the user of the information; in addition to the selection options to be established, they are selective, consultational, conversational and registration.
Social networking is a term that comes precisely from the dynamics of participation of users in the network. Social networks reinforced by communication networks amplify the phenomenon and help to increase their effectiveness. They allow to coordinate activities whose economic and political dimensions must be taken into consideration (Pisani and Piotet, 2008: 244). This social networking is a step forward in network communications; representing direct communication among members of a society.
Currently the social networks represent well advanced formulas of primitive tools of interactivity, such as the first chats, forums, etc. Building an actively participatory community of friends or followers is not only a matter of "social media play", but also is essential to develop an effective stance against the further development of media products (Ito et al., 2010).
In this context, Rupert Murdoch (in his speech to the American Association of Newspapers Editors in April 2005) said that "newspapers can only survive with multimedia strategies." Adding to this the convergence strategies and incorporation of users for the media (participatory journalism).
The role of citizens in the new communicative scenario has changed over time, currently the users tend to practice citizen journalism that contributes and sometimes consolidates content publishing digital media; this participation is given from the information previously made by the media.
The concept of user-generated content next to citizen journalism is born (Avilés and Carvajal, 2008; Ornebring, 2008, Thurman, 2008), to describe the material created by the public, especially in the news context. Thurman (2008), in a study of British online newspapers in 2008, could differentiate up to six types of user participation: 1) surveys, 2) what users say, 3) real time chatting, 4) interviews in which questions of users are incorporated: 5) blogs, and finally 5) space for messages. Some of these elements are still in place and have formed the basis for generating content by consumers.
A cybermedia should not only serve to read news, but on the contrary it has to become a true virtual site that allows users to exchange messages, create interpersonal networks, share, chat, and comment information, etc. In the specific case of user participation in the commenting system offered by digital media, a study by Nina Springer (2011) establishes two types of cognitive needs. First, the need for "competitive acquisition"; this space allows users to get rich with contributions from other users. Second, the need to "experience the competition”; a need that leads to the most active users to participate in writing comments to improve the ability of argumentation and sharpen discursive skills.
Rushkoff (2010: 19) claimed that coding changes we are witnessing, like "the social, cognitive and intellectual implications" in this age of digital evolution. Young people are developing new codes of conduct and creating models to support production beyond simple publication, and they are making contents acquire other contexts and other uses.
In this context, the term multimedia is highlighted, Ramón Salaverría (2001) to describe it as what it expresses, transmits or perceives through various media. In communication two realities are pointed out: a) languages, in the identification of informative messages transmitted in various media and platforms, and b) media, concerning "multiple intermediaries" who can participate in the transmission of an information product.
In order for the online media and interactivity of users to exist, we cannot forget the role of participation of cyber-journalists who are able to lead the digital environment, strengthen content and interact with the user.
In order to determine the contribution of users in major digital media in the Andean Community, the observation technique was used in the following cybermedia: El Comercio in Perú, El Tiempo in Colombia, El Deber in Bolivia and El Universo in Ecuador. In addition, the analysis of the case was applied, through monitoring of participation models of the studied media for two weeks. it was taken into account issues of greatest relevance and interaction of users in the media and on social networks.
To achieve the objectives in this research, according to model levels of commitment and level of interactivity introduced by Masip and Suau (2011): selective, participative and productive interaction; classification tools of users’ participation in digital media were used.
A matrix was performed for each digital media, which allowed us to identify the most read or most shared news, and the most recommended with number of comments. It was decided to prepare a separate table for each cybermedia, due to these having different parameters regarding the participation of users; some users do not have access to comments, other cybermedia only allow their users to rate news and recommend them in social networks.
Table 1. Model user participation, classified by type of interactivity
3. Observation and Analysis
The constant development of the Internet requires those who handle digital media to stay updated and find new ways of participation and interaction for their users in order to achieve a model that allows citizens to be producers or actors of new accurate, reliable and complete content.
The participation model of El Comercio in Perú offers its users the options to issue, vote -with like or do not like-, share or even respond to and sort comments for readability; these can be sorted as: oldest, the most valued and least valued, also offering interaction on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Figure 1. Comments on news from El Comercio in Perú
Figure 2. Users Interaction on Facebook
The Opinion section comprises: editorial, ephemeris, educated speech, columnists, contributors and author corner, users are identified here and they have the opportunity to participate in this media.
El Comercio has a WhatsApp section; in this space users are the ones who tell the facts through videos and photographs, making citizen journalism and feeling part of the online media.
Figure 3 y 4. WhatsApp service from El Comercio in Perú
For the selection of news or most relevant content, El Comercio in Perú has a filter which lets you select: Most read content; it can be news or picture galleries, each offering at the bottom right part of the page the number of visits that such content has so far, by accessing the news, users can identify the number of times information is shared in social networks and the number of comments they made. The results of observation of online media are presented below:
Table 2. Most read news from El Comercio, Perú
Preparation: The authors
3.2. El Tiempo, in Colombia
People in charge of updating El Tiempo in Colombia, regularly select a relevant topic of the day and allow users to give their opinion on it; they place it on the right side of the online media, to promote users’ participation, thus its users feel heard and valued by the online media.
Figure 5. Question of the day exposed by El Tiempo in Colombia
The participation model allows users to: share their content on social networks, save, comment, report an error or print information; it can qualify the opinions of others with I like or do not like and answer to comments made.
Figure 6. Exposed Comments on the news
The segment of opinion offers: column section, editorial, blogs, recommended editorial, snapshot of the day, videoblog, readers forum, highlighted comment; which fosters responsible participation of citizens through letters to the reader.
To facilitate the selection of news El Tiempo in Colombia invites users to access Most popular and Most shared. These two different items present the content in order to provide a greater reading experience or better interaction in social networks. Here, the number of visits and number of comments that each news has are displayed.
Table 3. Most read and shared news of El Tiempo in Colombia
Preparation: The Authors
1.1. El Deber, in Bolivia
El Deber in Bolivia does not have tools to make comments or visualize the times that news has been shared, on the contrary this cybermedia supports its users to rate news and content published by itself, the appreciation is divided into: liked, surprised, thrilled and indifferent. The number of participations is displayed at the end of each story.
Figure 8. News rating system of El Deber in Bolivia
There is demonstrated the participation of the users in the surveys that the media publishes often allowing to observe and know the results of these.
Figure 9. Survey of the day
The opinion section of the cybermedia offers: editorial board, editorial, face to face, opinion, after the crack, and seesaw.
Figure 10. Example of the Opinion Section of El Deber in Bolivia
Table 4. Most read news of El Deber in Bolivia
Preparation: The Authors
1.2. El Universo, in Ecuador
El Universo in Ecuador is a digital immigrant newspaper, which also offers its version printed on the users; in the section opinion presents several options in which the users can take part: columnists, publishing houses, letters to the reader, cartoons and forum for readers.
Figure11. Section of Opinion of El Universo in Ecuador
This cibermedia has an available space at the bottom right page, for the most read news in which is evidenced by the number of times recommended by Facebook. In all contents issued by the media, the user has the option to share through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, pinterest, linkedin, reddit, tumblr, among others.
Table 5. Most read news of El Universo in Ecuador
Preparation: The Authors
4. Discussion and Conclusions
Several models of participation according to the matrix of Masip and Suau (2011), were determined among them we have:
Is defined by the effort that makes the digital media to present a range of participatory tools, calling the user to interact, even without using a high level of knowledge and commitment. In the digital media object of study, this model is demonstrated with the use of: comments in news, blogs or segments of opinion and the interactivity in networks social, through these the media is intended that their contents are viral in the web.
Figure 12. Users’ comments of El Tiempo in Colombia
There was visualized the opportunity to vote in the contents exhibited by the media and the comments that the users express, by recommending news, participating in surveys, where the cybermedia emphasizes important comments, among others.
4.2. Users’ Community
This model creates tools for interaction between users, the main objective is to establish a community in which free access is allowed and their participation in the digital media, making them feel closer and free to issue opinions, ideas and feelings.
Some digital media help users assess the comments or report them as the case may be. As an example we present El Tiempo in Colombia which allows you to create a profile of user and access to its content.
Figure 13. Users’ profile of El Tiempo in Colombia
Creates a sense of affinity between the user and the media environment, collaborative networks allow user participation in content production of digital media, such participation is evidenced by sending photos, videos, and content issued by WhatsApp, also with successful comments producing replicas and feedback, among others.
Table 6. Characteristics and assessment of participatory models of the Andean digital media
Preparation: The Authors
In this context, the results coincide with the challenge proposed by Professor Xosé López, a new way of telling stories, interact and act in communication:
It is concluded that the mainstream media of the Andean Community have several forms of participation for users, according to their personality and content creation. There are media that allow commenting on the news to others who simply support the assessment of them; each media studied in this research has essential tools for participation of its members.
Alonso, J., and Martínez, L. (2003): Interactive means: characterization and contents. In Díaz, J., and Salaverría, R. (Coords)., Manual de Redaccion ciberperiodistica. Barcelona: Ariel: 261-301.
How to cite this article in bibliographies / References
D Rivera Rogel, G Carrión Salinas, J Córdova Camacho (2016): “Contribution of users in building digital content in the mainstream media of the Andean Community”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 71, pp. 1.131 to 1.150.
Article received on 2 July 2016. Accepted on