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About the project

Austrians regularly read printed newspapers, and within the cohort of people over the age of 60, more than 70 percent read the daily news in print. In contrast, only 25 percent of 14- to 29-year-olds claimed to read newspapers in a 2016 study. The ever-growing number of smartphone and tablet users increasingly read the news via e-papers and apps that make news available everywhere and at any time. Thereby, the function of reading changes in a temporal as well as spatial dimension: there is a blurred line between checking news spontaneously and an active and ritualized reading process. Furthermore, different approaches of reading news, and different consumption habits seem to prevail. Whereas younger readers seem to be more interested in quickly accessing news content, for older readers, the medium at hand plays a significant role.

This project is dedicated to the investigation of the everyday act of reading newspapers in both digital and analogue contexts, through intergenerational teams of 2 - consisting of younger and older participants (students and/or people 60+). These teams then discuss and describe the process of analog reading and compare it with the reading experiences of apps. This results in so-called "Digital Stories", which the teams work out together. The "Digital Stories" also shed light on which reading behaviors predominate and what knowledge or ideas, questions or problems were exchanged in the intergenerational teams. The aim of the project is also to highlight stereotypes regarding age and media use and, at the same time, to break down prejudices together.

The "Digital Stories" will then be analyzed within the researchers of the Center for Interdisciplinary Aging and Care Research from a cultural and social science as well as an economic perspective. This will address demands placed on a digitized, aging society. "App-solute news" serves to make prejudices and fears in dealing with digital everyday technologies visible and to strengthen the digitalization competencies of users and developers of all age groups. By working together in intergenerational tandems, the project is already working on reducing mutual prejudices and focusing on learning from each other.

Due to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings were held online and the intergenerational project work was moved to participants' respective homes. This preserved the core goals of the project while minimizing the risk of illness for all participants. However, the restructuring does not represent a limitation for the participants or for the project itself, but opens up numerous new possibilities in many respects.

Through the results that emerge from the project, age-related stereotypes will be highlighted in particular. Only by making marginalization and discrimination visible can a reduction of prejudice take place and a process of change be initiated. The visualization of existing social images of age in the form of prejudices concerning media use can have a positive effect on the discussion of the topic. In addition, the project is intended to make a small contribution to discussing and bringing to the table existing prejudices in the specific context of digital and analog newspaper reading and to initiate further research on this topic. The research results will be made available to companies and could be used within a possible follow-up project to train companies regarding social, intergenerational and digital competence, to develop everyday technologies with greater sensitivity regarding stereotypical age images and to make these technologies available to all age groups.

"App-Solute News" is a project of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care.

Funded by Land Steiermark (A8) in the context of the call for proposals "Zukunftsfonds: Auswirkungen der Digitalisierung auf die berufliche Kompetenzentwicklung". Duration: 1.3.2020 - 31.7.2022, Project management: Assoz. Prof. Mag. Dr. Ulla Kriebernegg


Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC)
Schubertstraße 23/1
8010 Graz

Project Management

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Ulla Kriebernegg

Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC)
Attemsgasse 25
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 8208

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