Users and readers, two different cultures

Although united umbilically by technology, digital and printed newspapers of the same company indeed operate in parallel ways on the current information ecosystem.

Newspapers companies bet on quality of limited contents in a scheme from beginning to end, focused on a mass of readers, while the digital ones bet on the massification of users, represented by all audiences. On each platform, there’s different preferences adjusted to both formats.

While the reader of printed media is satisfied with an excellent chronicle, interview or background analysis, with no more visual resources than a photograph or an illustration has to offer, digital users “consume” both textual and audiovisual content, mostly brief posts, regardless of these being healthy or harmful.

The harmful ones I’m referring to are the distorted or unconfirmed information, also known as “fake news”, which sneak onto those platforms without much care or without subjection to filters nor validity checks, which doesn’t really happen in the printed platform.

Although they operate together, like twin siblings, both platforms feed each other with their best contents, but knowing that in order to engage with their targetted audiences, they must offer different menus.

That’s why the integration processes of the personnel of both platforms take their time since it’s about hybridizing two cultures, that of the reader and that of the user. Even in the definitions of both a reader and an user, we can appreciate many differences.

We can’t extrapolate, in original forms, the content from the digital to the printed, nor the other way around, unless they’ve been previously subjected to adaptations that take into account the preferences of both readers and users, which aren’t always the same even if we interchange the roles of whom “read” on one platform and whom “consume” on the other.

  • Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.