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New Poynter study on what gets readers' attention

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Frank_Ridgeway, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    No doubt there will be a conflicting study someday, but the high points are:

    Readers have longer attention spans than we thought.

    Small photos and mugs (multiple points of entry) do not attract much attention.

    Headline writing needs more emphasis.

    Newspaper readers and Web site readers have different methods of reading -- they are dissimilar in what gets and holds their attention.

    Readers like alternative story forms (graphics).

    The full study won't be released till June.

    I watched the accompanying videos.

  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Frank, it also said that readers were more likely to get farther in a Web story than a print story, right?
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Yes. I was not taking notes, just going from memory. Personally, I do not find I am any more likely to click to the next page than I am to read a jump in the paper (and less likely online for a Newhouse site where I have to give ZIP code and age to get the rest of the story). They do not say whether this is an indication of whether the same people behave differently when reading online or on paper -- my impression is that they are two distinct audiences.

    As I say, no doubt there will be a conflicting study soon, so I take these with many grains of salt. But it contradicts what the man who designed my newspaper told us only a few years ago about an eyetracking study.
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    One of those fancy scientific studies that tracks eyeball movement? Color me skeptical about those. I envision people all freaked out -- a la "A Clockwork Orange" -- while someone has their eyes taped permanently open as they read the paper!
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I hear you. But apparently they studied the people with a month's worth of content (they said to neutralize the factor of the news being inconsistently interesting from day to day). Hard to fake it that long.
  6. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    I hear ya. I just wanted to throw out the reference. I always picture that when I hear about eyetracking studies.
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

  8. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Fascinating stuff. The eye-track study has been conducted yearly for some time. The results haven't varied that much in regards to reading of web pages. In the past it also found that most readers intentionally ignore large web ads and are more likely to read text-based ads that look more like regular content.
  9. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    That's what I was going to say, too.
  10. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    I believe these four ideas could stand up at any newspaper across the country.

    The only thing small photos and mug shots accomplish is pissing off the designer who has to jack around with getting more things on a page. They can help occasionally, but often it's just clutter. Additionally, cramming a thumbnail mug in a regular column of copy creates a thin strip of copy that is tough to read.


    There are readers who want the paper in their hand and don't mind reading a 30- or 40-inch story (or longer) provided it is compelling. It could be a profile or a hard news story. If there never is time to read long stories or a 2- or 3-day series, then why are investigative pieces or long profiles often lauded by readers and picked up by other news sources? Because people read them.

    On the other hand, Web readers are of a generation that grew up playing video games and seeing newspapers begin the push for shorter stories and I believe there is a connection. It's the CNN & USA Today crowd, with a shorter-is-better and give-it-to-me-now mentality. You maybe could take that another step by saying Johnny wouldn't read a novel but he will read Time or Newsweek or maybe even The New Yorker.

    That doesn't make them bad readers or "incorrect" readers. People read and view things differently.
  11. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    They could have skipped the study and just watched the JibJab video.
  12. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    That sorta says it all, doesn't it?
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