This study examined the communicative efficacy of Korean high school students in the context of their use of news comments on the Internet. The study was based on the normative argument that the portal media's news service should provide the space for public discussion and debate on the important social issues. However, in reality, it seems that Korean portal media users�� comments on news do not provide the chance for public discussion. This study aimed to analyze how Korean youth perceive the efficacy of Internet public space for communication and participation. A sample of Korean high school students(N=253) were assigned to the experimental conditions where news comments on a particular issue were manipulated either logical or emotional debate context. Based on the empirical analysis on high school students' evaluation, we found that the characteristics of news comments may affect the perceptions' about online public space and the communicative efficacy on the Internet debate. The level of communicative efficacy was relatively lower for those exposed to emotional debate context. The result of this study suggested that maintaining Internet debate as logical and rationally sound would be an essential component for utilizing new media technology in the democratic process. We believe that our research is related to this year's conference theme, since the study can provide a chance to look around how individuals evaluate and participate on online community discussion to cope with conflict situations and to make a collective resolution through public debate.
Inhye Choi, National Youth Policy Institute, Korea
Seo Jung Yoon, Daewon Foreign Language High School, Korea
Soo Min Ahn, Daewon Foreign Language High School, Korea
Stream: Digital Media and Use of New Technology in Newsgathering
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