Tue, Jun 03, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Information glut distracts readers


Young adults experience news fatigue from being inundated by facts and updates and have trouble accessing in-depth stories, a study to be released at a global media conference yesterday showed.

The Context-Based Research Group, an ethnographic research firm, found that the news consumption behavior of younger readers differs profoundly from that of previous generations.

The project, commissioned by The Associated Press (AP) last year, analyzed the news consumption patterns of an ethnically diverse group of 18 men and women between the ages of 18 and 34 in six cities in the US, the UK and India.

It ultimately helped AP design a new model for news delivery to meet the needs of young adults, who are driving the shift from traditional media to digital news, said Jim Kennedy, AP’s director of strategic planning.

“The real value was that it gave us a lasting model of how news is being consumed in the digital space by young people that we can use to improve our own newsgathering and project development,” he said.

That includes what the AP calls “1-2-3 filing,” starting with a news alert headline for breaking news, followed by a short present-tense story that is usable on the Web and by broadcasters.

The third step is to add details and format stories in ways appropriate for various news platforms.

Editors at the Telegraph in London are following a similar approach and have seen a big jump in traffic at the newspaper’s Web site.

The study said the Telegraph has adopted the mindset of a broadcast-news operation to quickly build from headlines to short stories to complete multimedia packages online to boost readership.

The study’s purpose was to obtain a more holistic understanding of the news consumption behavior of younger audiences.

The results were to be presented yesterday in a report to media executives and editors from around the globe at the World Editors Forum in Goteborg, southwestern Sweden.

A key finding was that participants yearned for quality and in-depth reporting, but had difficulty immediately accessing such content because they were bombarded by facts and updates in headlines and snippets of news.

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