“App-Solute News:” Comparison of Analog and Digital Mode in Newspaper Reading Between Intergenerational Teams

paper, specified "short paper"
  1. 1. Teresa Hartinger

    Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz)

  2. 2. Urša Marinšek

    Karl-Franzens Universität Graz (University of Graz)

Work text
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The project “App-Solute News” investigates intergenerational dynamics through reading newspapers and the transition of reading from analog to digital mode. Participants were tasked with creating digital stories reflecting on reading newspapers in intergenerational teams of two. In the stories, benefits and challenges of reading are explored. In addition, bringing forth images of age and the communication between younger and older adults the project is challenging stereotypes of aging.

The main method in this project was digital storytelling, a pedagogical-narrative method whose outcomes are stories based on an exploration of a specific topic in a digital form. Participants create short narratives and combine them with various types of multimedia. Digital storytelling can be used in variety of settings with different agendas in mind. For example, it can be used to promote diversity, and reduce prejudices of aging through collaborations with creating images and narratives. It has already been applied in many projects in intercultural and educational contexts (e.g., “Mysty: Digital Storytelling” project).
The innovative aspect of the “App-Solute News” project is using digital storytelling in intergenerational collaborations between younger and older adults who created digital stories. The participants were students from the University of Graz, Austria who were paired with adults over the age of 60. Together they discussed reading newspapers in analog and digital forms. They worked with a print and an app version of
Kleine Zeitung, the largest-circulation state daily newspaper, which is an example of a medium transitioning from analog to digital.

The teams exchanged experience about digitalization on an equal footing and obviated any notions of “expert” roles in the field of digitalization. Looking at how age plays a role in team interactions was important to the project, however, the participants were not made aware of the age aspect in detail in order not to influence the teamwork. The task was to develop digital stories and use them to create an image-based narrative that was recorded audio-visually. In their stories, the pairs discuss reading newspapers in the past and in the present, their perceptions, ideas, and positive and negative sides of analog and digital newspaper reading etc.
In addition, a questionnaire was used and employed after the digital stories had been created. The objective was to give the participants an opportunity to reflect on their overall experience. Apart from analyzing the participants’ experience in the project, the main aim of the questionnaire was to see how intergenerationality and collaboration were perceived, and to see if the participants were challenged in terms of age(ing) stereotypes.

In this project, it appears that common age stereotypes, such as older people preferring the analog medium over the digital one and younger people preferring the digital medium, do not apply. Several people indicated that the choice of the preferred medium is not dependent on age, but on habits, interests, and individual needs.
It is evident that participants over 60 often prefer the app and become accustomed to it very quickly, or they had even used it before. Several participants under 35 years of age said they preferred the print version of the newspaper because they spend a lot of time in front of a screen at work. Although it was shown that the technical and digital tasks were taken on more by the group of people aged 35 and younger, the rest of the collaboration was determined by the diverse skills and personal preferences distributed differently in the age groups.
The analysis of the respondents’ answers also showed that the intergenerational cooperation was experienced as consistently positive. Appreciation and collegiality as well as openness, interest and motivation played an equally important role as did creativity, harmony, and fun. Participants stated that they were able to learn from each other, they gained new social and digital competences, and developed their interpersonal skills. In many cases, they were surprised by the competence, needs and interests of their partners and stated that the cooperation was enriching.
The project goal of addressing age stereotypes and changing attitudes, behaviors and structures, as well as promoting new, different approaches and perspectives on age(ing), was achieved. Due to the inclusion of the aspect of intergenerationality, the analysis of the digital stories and the inherent societal ideas, fears, norms and values, regarding age and digitalization adds to the existing research of the connection between age and digitalization (e.g., Hausknecht et al., 2019; Loos et al., 2019; Weiß et al., 2017).

Hausknecht, S., Vanchu-Orosco, M., and Kaufman, D. (2019).
Digitising the wisdom of our elders: Connectedness through digital storytelling. 
Ageing and Society, 39(12): 2714-2734.

Loos, E., Nimrod, G., and Fernández-Ardèvol, M. (Coords.). (2019).
Older audiences in the digital media environment: A cross-national longitudinal study.
Wave 2 Report v1.0

. Montreal, Canada: ACT Project.

Mysty: Digital Storytelling. (2017).

Weiß, C., Stubbe, J., Naujoks, C., and Weide, S. (2017). 

Digitalisierung für mehr Optionen und Teilhabe im Alter
. Bielefeld: Hans Kock Buch- und Offsetdruck GmbH.

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Conference Info

In review

ADHO - 2022
"Responding to Asian Diversity"

Tokyo, Japan

July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022

361 works by 945 authors indexed

Held in Tokyo and remote (hybrid) on account of COVID-19

Conference website: https://dh2022.adho.org/

Contributors: Scott B. Weingart, James Cummings

Series: ADHO (16)

Organizers: ADHO