News and Its Audiences in the Era of New Media: Perceptions and Dynamics on Online Consumption

Editors: Patrícia Silveira (Universidade Europeia, Universidade Católica, Universidade do Minho) and Inês Amaral (Universidade de Coimbra, Universidade do Minho).

Accepted languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish

Issues inherent to the dynamics of production, distribution and consumption of news content have in recent years been the subject of numerous academic studies. It is, however, of significant import that we should have, today, more scientific production in those fields of research that specialise in examining and understanding the new digital-born media and information scenes. These scenes co-exist alongside analogical outlets, with clear implications both for the typical operating mode of media and newspaper organisations and the ways we access information and for the uses and perceptions that inform the concept of ‘news’. It is within this context that the proposal for our Special Dossier is set.

In the current communication ecosystem, the media have been generalising the assumption of informed audiences. Several issues have been examined in the newsmaking field which explores the apparent potential of the new media to promote a larger public debate and to foster a more informed political engagement, while at the same time questioning the permanence of the media as privileged managers of the information public sphere.

Such topics have clear implications for citizens’ everyday lives, particularly for the lives of younger generations (who, by definition, find themselves in the process of learning, acquiring knowledge and interpreting the world) who are increasingly choosing digital platforms as their preferred means of access to news content. The everyday life of the younger generations is nowadays inextricably linked with these tools that shape what these individuals are, how they act, how they socialise and how they get to know the immediate and the mediated world (Silveira & Amaral, 2018).

It is thus in the context of the mentioned issues that we would like to propose a few lines of inquiry and debate, focusing the approach on furthering the current scientific understanding of the (present and future) dynamics of media and news reception, with an emphasis on the development and acquisition of management, comprehension and critical thinking skills to address the media and current news. In recent years, research developed in this field has become salient. With this Special Dossier, our aim is to contribute to a more robust knowledge, drawn from academic studies and texts that favour a scientifically sound analysis on how citizens – and among these, Generation Z in particular – are nowadays consuming information via digital platforms. Additionally, it finds it pertinent to explore how such practices are impacting those citizens’ understanding of the world, their awareness of societies’ “serious” issues, and their civic participation; it would be especially pertinent to shed some light on how the variously sourced information with which they are permanently in contact (and we would here highlight their exposure to ‘fake news’) is ultimately shaping their worldview.

The knowledge gathered in our Special Dossier may come to work as a basis for the development and implementation of effective strategies in promoting intellectual autonomy and interpretation skills to address news content. In the area of media literacy, News literacy becomes all the more relevant in a media landscape where fake news is propagated – the truth being questioned and disinformation being instigated is one the biggest challenges journalism is now facing. The present state of affairs can have serious repercussions for society in general, and for its younger (thus likely more susceptible) members in particular.

We would, therefore, like to encourage a debate on the interaction dynamics that develop between audiences and current affairs/news, with an emphasis on the younger generation audience segment. We are especially interested in research that examines the younger generation’s perceptions of, and interactions with, news content and online information consumption, while also taking into account alternative sources of news, such as Instagram or WhatsApp. It is necessary that those new trends be placed in the wider context of studies on news content emission and reception. With this goal in mind, we aim at contributing to a wider debate which, and in light of the landscape just outlined, we also welcome proposals which put forward and strengthen strategies designed to provide citizens with those skills that give them the ability to be more critical of their own worldview – and of the worldview, they receive from the media – so that they at the same time develop their civic and political values.

This Special Dossier aims at advancing the existing scientific knowledge on the consumption of news content, particularly digital-born news content.

Manuscripts addressing (but not limited to) the following topics are welcome

  • News content consumption practices and digital platforms
  • New generations and news literacy
  • Online media and future trends in news consumption
  • The era of ‘fake news’ and critical skills in information analysis
  • New media, engagement and civic participation
  • ‘Alternative’ narratives and post-truth
  • Social media, algorithms and disinformation
  • Critical literacies

Key dates

  • 1st Call for Papers: 28 October 2019
  • Deadline for Submissions: 10 February 2020
  • Deadline for Notification of Acceptance: 30 April 2020
  • Deadline for submitting final version of accepted paper: 15 May 2020
  • Publication date: 30 June 2020

Submission guidelines

Manuscripts should follow the preformatted template and be submitted by e-mail (sent to: Please include ‘Dossiê temático 03_NPENM’ in the subject of your e-mail.

Access the preformatted template here

Papers can be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese, always using Microsoft Word. They are to include an abstract of up to 900 characters, five keywords written in both the language of the paper and in English, and the author’s details (name, affiliation, position, contact information and field of study). The full paper, with reference list, annexes and citations should not exceed 50.000 characters (including spaces, endnotes, reference list, tables, images, etc.). Studies, Notes and Book Reviews should not exceed 10.000 characters.

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Upon acceptance of a paper for publication, the individual or collective author(s) will be asked to assign copyright to Comunicação Pública.

Deadline for submission of manuscripts: 10 February 2020