Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption
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Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Presentation Transcript

  • 1. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group June 2008
  • 2. C O N T E N T S Prologue 3 Behavioral Field Study and Findings 5 AP’s Understanding of the Model 51 The Telegraph, a Case Study 66 Acknowledgements 71
  • 3. P R O L O G U E In the spring of 2007, The Associated Press embarked on some business research that began quite routinely but would end up reshaping our thinking about jour- nalism in the digital age. As part of our strategic planning process, we sought to understand news consumption patterns beyond what traditional market data and consumer surveys could tell us. We had a senior management retreat coming up and we needed something more exciting than regional growth rates to stimulate discussion. An analyst on the planning staff suggested doing an “ethnography” of young adult consumers and after a quick Google search to under- stand exactly what that meant, we decided to give it a try. To be frank, our expectations were modest. We sought some real people to put a human face on the accelerating shift to online and mo- bile consumption of news around the world. We knew young people were at the leading edge of that movement and a cultural science study of their media habits sounded like fun. In the end, it proved to be as transformative as it was fun. The hu- man stories were only the start. From there, the professional anthro- pologists we commissioned to conduct the research created a model for news delivery that distilled the challenge to its essential elements. Based on the observed behavior of the subjects in the study, four ba- sic news entry points were identified as the main components of the subjects’ news diets: Facts, Updates, Back Story and Future Stories. The essential finding: The subjects were overloaded with facts and updates and were having trouble moving more deeply into the back- ground and resolution of news stories.
  • 4. That model, illustrated in a couple of interesting ways in this re- port, helped validate the mission we had been charting for the digital marketplace: Create content that will satisfy a full range of consum- ers’ news needs and then build the links that will con- nect people to the relevant news they seek. Easy to say and harder to accomplish, in a news environment char- acterized by fragmented interests and mostly passive consumption patterns across online and offline news venues. The research dem- onstrated quite convincingly that the old models for packaging and delivering news were not connecting with the audience now coming of age around the world. The habits of these young consumers are radically different from those that have characterized news consump- tion for generations. Newspapers, scheduled broadcasts and even Web sites are giving way to a chaotic system of self-aggregation that is producing disappointing results not only for news producers, but – as this research shows – for consumers as well. For the World Editors Forum, our initial research has been expand- ed in two important ways. First, the basic model of consumer behav- ior that emerged from the original project became the foundation for a broader set of findings and recommendations designed exclusively for release at the forum. Second, we have provided a summary of AP’s own analysis of the model and the practical work that has taken shape in response to these and other digital trends. As further grounding for the findings, a brief case study of The Telegraph of London is in- cluded to illustrate how one well-known newspaper has dealt with the kind of challenges the model highlights. Special thanks go to our partners in this research, the Context- Based Research Group of Baltimore, Maryland. – AP Strategic Planning | June 2008
  • 5. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption News Consumption Behaviors of Young Adults An Anthropological Study Overview and Study Objectives T he Associated Press commissioned Balti- more-based Context-Based of media usage and were even clearer in everyday life. Younger consumers, adjustments, even revolu- tions, at media companies in every part of the world. Research Group to conduct ages 18-34, have adopted Amid its own revolution a cultural science study ways of getting their news from predominantly print- – in the parlance of the that are much different based services, AP sought discipline, an “ethnogra- from those of past genera- Context’s help in gaining phy” – focusing on the news tions. Younger consumers a deeper and more holistic consumption habits of are not only less reliant on understanding of young young digital consumers in the newspaper to get their consumers. How is news six cities around the world. news; they also consume read, viewed and used by The drive for this research news across a multitude of this generation—through- came from the recognition platforms and sources, all out a typical day? that a significant shift in day, constantly Among the . news consumption behav- key touch points in the new The project’s original ior is taking place among environment are online objectives included docu- younger generations. video, blogs, online social menting the frequency networks, mobile devices, with which participants The trends had surfaced RSS, word of mouth, Web searched for or consumed clearly across any number portals and search engines. news; identifying the of quantitative measures This shift is triggering news sources that young A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 5
  • 6. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption consumers turned to what constitutes news for planning process. most commonly, as well young consumers. In short, In 2008, AP and Context as those sources that they the project sought to put a re-engaged to analyze avoided; identifying the human face on 21st century the field data further and means they used to access news consumption. What is extract findings and rec- these sources; examin- the “new face of news?” ommendations that could ing preferred platforms The original research be shared with all those for news consumption, was completed in the sum- interested in pursuing new especially new and/or mer of 2007 and produced approaches to news gather- nontraditional channels a model for digital news ing and delivery . and devices; and expand- consumption that AP in- ing AP’s understanding of tegrated into its strategic A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 6
  • 7. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Why Ethnography and Anthropology: Getting to the Deep Structure To achieve its objec- tives, the AP un- derstood the need to take on the simple, yet profound, premise that to truly un- derstand human behavior But ethnography alone is just a technique, a process by which thick and rich a look at consumers from you need to witness it first descriptions are provided a holistic perspective, to hand. Anthropologists that illustrate people’s delve into their lifestyles understand that to uncover lives, emotions, social rela- and how their current at- the deeper structures that tionships, decision-making titudes and beliefs tie into guide a culture it is neces- processes and more. The larger cultural news con- sary to “live among the na- secret to ethnography sumption constructs on a tives.” By living among the lies in anthropological global scale. To accomplish natives you come to learn analysis. Anthropologists this goal, the AP turned to 1) what people do versus conducting ethnographic the discipline of anthropol- they say they do and research and analysis get to ogy, enlisting Context to 2) the why, or underlying what Context calls people’s perform an ethnography of motivation, behind people’s “Deep Structure” – the contemporary news con- actual behavior. place beneath the surface sumption behaviors. Ethnographic field work, of easily observed behav- therefore, involves go- iors where cultural values Ethnography is a re- ing into people’s natural and individual motivations search tool that comes from settings versus studying are produced and support- the discipline of cultural people in a controlled envi- ed. One value for under- anthropology and is based ronment. standing cultural Deep A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 7
  • 8. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Structures is to connect behaviors with their under- Roots of ethnography lying motivations, thereby Anthropolgists compare people’s behavior to parts of a tree – providing a useful frame- some are obvious, some are hidden. work for creating products and services that reach Material Culture people on a truly deeper What products plane of unmet needs. and services do people use? To fully comprehend the ethnographic and anthro- Behaviors pological research process, What do it is helpful to use the meta- people do? phor of a tree [right]. The goal is to unearth the tree’s Deep Structure roots. The roots in this Why do people analogy represent the Deep do what they do? Structure that supports the culture under study . Above the surface, anthropologists observe people’s behavior. Below Anthropologists rely on the surface, insights are drawn on underlying motivations. the ethnographic method to identify, describe and it- eratively interpret behavior people’s disposal. behaviors and examples of – the trunk of the tree and material culture, patterns the material culture that Unlike the roots of the begin to emerge. The pat- comprises the limbs and tree, the trunk and the terns that emerge from the the leaves. Material culture limbs and leaves are the ethnographic investigation in an ethnographic study part of the tree you can are the manifestation of is the “stuff ” people use. walk around, touch and Deep Structure or in this In consumer anthropology, see and describe in close analogy, the tree’s roots. most of the stuff equals detail. As anthropologists The ethnographic ap- products and services at begin to see more and more proach is deductive and A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 8
  • 9. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption iterative. As the patterns and anthropological studies economies) are working or from the research start suggest: not working. to take shape and suggest 1) the underlying deep Most important, anthro- a certain structure, then structure for why people do pological investigations anthropological and social what they do and provide a platform to create theory guides the explana- 2) what in people’s lives change, grounded in a truly tory models that emerge. – be it products, services, deep understanding of hu- Simply put, the resulting institutions (e.g., educa- man behavior. models from ethnographic tion, government, religion, Methodology To get at the Deep Struc- group), representing a mix ton, Silicon Valley, Phila- ture behind news consump- of ethnicities and gender. delphia and Kansas City tion, an ethnographic Each participant had to were chosen in the United project was designed to have access to the Internet States to provide a broad explore a diverse group of and in addition to check- geographical sweep while participants, using a range ing the news at least once staying away from cities of methodologies includ- a day, participants had where the influence of ing self-reported real-time to report accessing news major media might be more behaviors, direct observa- through means other than prominent. Brighton, Eng- tion and, to complete the print, television and radio. land was selected because process, in-depth anthropo- This bias was assumed to the city is quickly attract- logical analysis. capture young people who ing a young new population were both connected and with its universities and To gather as broad a digital consumers of news. established cultural life. group of participants as The participants were In India, Hyderabad was a possible, 18 participants recruited in three countries natural choice, as the influx were recruited between – United States, United of technology companies the ages of 18-34 (with an Kingdom and India and six has brought extensive ur- emphasis on the 18-24 age metropolitan areas. Hous- banization. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 9
  • 10. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption ‘My News’ Send-Ahead Behavioral Journaling Exercise To gather a founda- tion of information about the participants’ they would represent them- selves, focusing on what was important to them, making note visually and textually of when, how and why they searched for and lives, particularly their their likes/dislikes, values accessed updates on the behaviors, values, news and philosophies, as well story. sources and news consump- as who and what made up tion habits, all the partici- their social networks. Mov- The exercise, followed by pants in the study received ing more directly into the a home visit from a Con- a Send-Ahead Behavioral news realm, participants text anthropologist, was Journaling Exercise en- also represented what they intended to prompt par- titled “My News.” To com- considered to be news, ticipants to begin thinking plete the journal, partici- how they defined newswor- about their news consump- pants received a Polaroid thiness, the influence of tion behaviors, motivations camera and set of instruc- platform and channel on and habits, as well as their tions on taking pictures of their personal definitions perceptions of what consti- their daily lives over the of news, their preferred tutes the news. The images course of three to five days. means for accessing the and the description pro- news and how and when vided by the participants Participants completed they disseminated news. yielded rich data about who the behavioral journal Finally, participants were they are and the role that by addressing a series of asked to choose a story news consumption was questions both visually that they would typically playing in their lives. and textually The journal . follow and then track this began by asking them how story over a full news cycle, A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 10
  • 11. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption News Consumption Mobile Blog and News Diary To capture behaviors and motivations while consumers were day Participants took pic- . tures to record their ideas of what news is and why; a discreet camera phone to capture these moments visually as they happened, away from home and in the how, when and for how long while internationally based varied and different envi- they access news sources; participants completed the ronments they visit in their what news channels they assignment by taking pic- daily lives, Context had par- typically utilize; their level tures to accompany their ticipants complete a mobile of engagements with dif- news diary using Polaroid blog and news diary For . ferent channels, platforms cameras. U.S. participants this structured assignment, and devices; and the impact uploaded their pictures participants were asked to this news had on them, to a secure Web site at the capture moments of news including how they decided end of each day, providing consumption behavior, in whether to further dissemi- contextual details on the real time, over the course nate a piece of news. By behavior they captured, us- of one weekday and one including a diary of news ing their news diary pages weekend day, from start to collection pages, partici- to ensure that they included finish. pants were able to textu- all the details. ally document these news For the international Context anthropologists consumption moments and participants, the Context directed all participants to motivations as well. anthropologist brought this take pictures that captured exercise to life during the how they search for or Participants in the United in-home, in-depth inter- consume news during the States were provided with view. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 11
  • 12. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Day-in-the-Life Immersion and Observation D ay-in-the-life immer- sions were also con- ducted to obtain first-hand Immersion and observa- tion are at the core of eth- nography and the primary A major strength from observation and interac- tion over the full day is information about news technique for anthropolo- that researchers uncovered consumption, as it actu- gists. In anthropology, the discrepancies between what ally happened and to put in method is called participant participants said and what perspective the information observation. In addition to they actually did. gathered in each partici- undertaking direct observa- A structured observation pant’s self-reported journal tion, Context anthropolo- guide was created to cover and diary In these sessions, . gists were able to engage a series of specific issues an anthropologist spent with the participant’s social and questions. Topics in the part of the day shadowing life and participate in col- observation guide included and observing participants lective discussions with exploring people’s daily through their activities. members of his or her wid- schedules and how they er social network. Spend- moved throughout their Context anthropologists ing much of a day with day; what constituted news scheduled the observation each participant meant the throughout their day; their period during the times anthropologist was able preferred or primary news that participants said they to obtain more detailed sources; the platforms and consumed the news most and accurate information, devices they actually used frequently To gain a deeper . including both observable for consuming their news; understanding of partici- details (how much time the times and frequencies pants’ lives and how they they spent on each Web of their news consumption; interface with news, the site, for example) and more the level of engagement immersion encompassed hidden details (such as how with news sources includ- a broad sampling of their interaction with different ing their interaction and daily activities, including news media affected their involvement with these work, school, leisure or consumption behavior) that sources; and their reasons entertainment activities, in- are more easily observed for the sources and medi- teractions with family and/ and understandable over a ums they used and their or friends and more. longer period of time. overall behavioral prefer- ences. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 12
  • 13. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption In-home In-depth Interview A fter participants com- pleted their journal and diary exercises, Con- pants consumed or other- wise received news. The interview was structured with a chance to explain in greater depth the behavior observed by the anthropolo- text anthropologists went using the same themes as gist during the immersion to their homes, debriefed those directing the immer- period and to discuss the these exercises and con- sion observation, although relationship between real- ducted in-depth interviews. questions were introduced time behaviors and what Debriefing the journals as open-ended to assist par- participants recorded in and diaries provided a ticipants in providing vivid their journals and through launching pad to conduct and self-directed descrip- their blogs and news dia- a conversational interview tions of their life experi- ries. designed to uncover further ences. The interview also details about how partici- provided the participants A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 13
  • 14. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Ethnography Participants The following pages summarize the observations of the subjects in the study by geographic location. The names have been changed to pseudonyms for the purposes of this report. N ews was very impor- tant to Riya, a 22-year- old woman, who, together that “knowing the news,” or staying up to date on current affairs, would help goals. Riya had a regular rou- tine of reading the morn- with her her pursue and achieve her ing newspaper before work. sisters, moved She also watched televi- Riya Hyderabad, India out of her sion in her office cafeteria 22 village to live during breaks and dis- Software in Hydera- cussed the news with her engineer bad. Riya was CHINA colleagues. Back at home, PAKISTAN employed as she watched the evening a software NEPAL local news with her sisters. engineer and, on a macro New Delhi She had Internet access at level, symbolizes the chang- work and home and usually ing Indian woman, who has checked the news online “come out of her kitchen,” I N D I A three times a day . venturing into the larger, In news, Riya was look- urban world on her own, ing for motivation and Mumbai far from her parents. inspiration: Reading about Information helped Riya Hyderabad successful women in poli- achieve parity with her tics motivated Riya toward male colleagues and urban her own goals and gave her counterparts. Riya also Arabian Chennai hope that it was possible Sea Bay of said she dreamed of becom- Bengal for her to be somebody ing a politician or a great SRI someday She also looked . leader someday She feels . LANKA for news to relax. Reading A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 14
  • 15. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption about entertainment and ated Press. help him overcome Indian film news was an indul- Raj mostly accessed the socio-cultural barriers. gence that she enjoyed. Internet via his personal “Film news relaxes me. I computer. Before graduat- love to read about gossip in the film industry.” ing, he had Internet access at college and he would check news at school as V ijay, a 26-year-old man, was an owner of an interior design store, which well. Television was not he ran from his home, R aj, a 22-year-old man, just received his bachelor’s his primary source to stay abreast of current events, as he preferred the Internet Vijay located in a fairly wealthy area in the degree and for news. To Raj, know- 26 heart of Raj was enrolled ing the news is a social Hyderabad. Store 22 already in a skill because it helped him owner Technologi- Master’s m aster’s of communicate and raise his cally, Vijay student s cience pro- social standing. was well gram in the To hone his communica- “wired,” with cable televi- United States. tion skills, Raj charted the sion and continuous access Raj browsed the Internet development of news on to the Internet. for news to improve his a whiteboard. In fact, he Vijay came from a large communications skills and chose a news topic, wrote it family with a fairly tradi- keep himself ahead of his out on a whiteboard in his tional upbringing. He felt friends. Raj saidhe normal- room and then practiced connected to these roots ly checked the news eight presenting it to others, ei- but was also intrigued by to 10 times a day when he ther alone or before friends. the changes he saw occur- was busy and up to 20 times By working on the way he ring around him as a result a day w h e n he had more communicated news, Raj of globalization. He relied free time. Raj’s preferred believed he improved his on being up to date on the sites were NDTV and social skills as well as his news as a way of keeping Yahoo. He was also very chances to break through up with his friends and his familiar with The Associ- caste. Raj felt news could wider social network. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 15
  • 16. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Vijay began the day by stock market or a news sources was quite interest- reading the newspaper story that he was following ing. One of the first sites and watching television because it was important he went to for news was the with his morning coffee. for his social circle. television news channel It was at this time that he Vijay was mostly inter- NDTV an authoritative and , was most engaged with the ested in global business well-respected news chan- news. This was the time and political news. Dur- nel. In particular, he en- that Vijay used to prepare ing the time of this study joyed the show “The World himself for his day – en- he was actively following This Week,” which NDTV gaging with the top news several stories pertaining has been broadcasting for stories and social events to car and bike companies the last two decades. His before meeting clients and that had begun investing in secondary source was Ee- friends alike. Aside from India. The impact this new andu, a well-regarded local the morning hours, Vijay business could potentially newspaper, written in the would return to the televi- have on the Indian econo- local language of Telegu. sion or Internet during my was important to him His online sources included the lunch hour and before as he has some investments NDTV .com and Yahoo.com. going to sleep to check on in the Indian stock market. information regarding the His choice of news A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 16
  • 17. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption J ill, a 28-year-old wom- an, was working as an online insurance broker. Brighton, United Kingdom 0 100 mi for the southern British counties. When Jill arrived at work She lived 0 100 km she immediately logged with her part- on to her e-mail, another Jill ner, Kathryn, SCOTLAND exposure to Yahoo news 28 in a small North Sea headlines. Occasionally, Insurance apartment she would follow up with broker overlooking Edinburgh additional searches on the English some of these headlines. Channel. Jill ENGLAND She logged in and out of was very technologically her Yahoo account about Manchester oriented: She accessed once every hour during the news stories online any- Leeds day and saw Yahoo News’s time of day She saw news . Birmingham headlines several times. as constantly moving, “It’s London At work, Jill received text a non-stop machine, just messages and e-mail alerts Brighton churning information out. about other news as well. It doesn’t matter what it’s Plymouth During the Wimbledon ten- about … it’s just churning.” FRANCE nis tournament, Jill kept a She engaged with the news live scoreboard on her desk- approximately six to eight News 24 — BBC’s round- top to follow the matches. hours a day She checked . the-clock all-news channel. Driving back home, Jill her e-mail on Yahoo every She then listened to head- listened to news on the hour and thus saw Yahoo lines on the radio in her car radio. When she got home, headlines up to 10 times as she drove to work. Her she logged into her Yahoo a day She was primarily . commute could last 10 to 30 and Facebook accounts attracted to stories that minutes. Jill felt that radio to get personal news and piqued her curiosity . news was much softer and e-mail, while she watched Jill’s news consumption more humorous than BBC news and chatted with her routine during the day fol- News 24. In the car, she partner about the day’s lowed a pattern: She started listened to BBC Radio One events. her day by watching BBC and the local radio station A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 17
  • 18. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption M ark, a 28-year-old man, was employed as a project manager for final result. The house also appreciated in value and is now worth £100,000 more. up to date on news coverage and sports-related informa- tion. an online The main room of the Mark liked his news to travel agency. house was a lounge that be “punchy” and point- Mark Mark started featured a very large flat- focused. He read the head- 28 in this com- screen TV with a Sky Digi- lines in the Times and Project pany’s call tal set-top box. Each mem- followed up on BBC online manager center and ber of the household (and to “find out what’s hap- was proud of their respective partners) pening” with stories that the way he had a laptop, which meant he wanted to track. Mark had moved up the ladder. that sometimes there were said he trusts the BBC and Part of Mark’s job included five laptops on the wireless Sky Radio (for sports), fol- overseeing a group of 10 to broadband network in the lowed by the Times and the 15 people. lounge at the same time. Guardian. Mark moved to Brighton, Mark was constantly Mark’s news consump- a more cosmopolitan and using his PDA and mobile tion was related to other liberal city, from a northern phone to receive alerts and activities that he was English town with a more feeds as well as up-to the- engaged in and although conservative bent. In part, minute scores for football. he was actively consuming Mark made the move to dis- He even took his PDA to the the news, it was almost al- tance himself from his old lavatory and read the BBC ways in tandem with other life and embrace a higher headlines in the way that activities such as driving or standard of living. he used to read the newspa- working. Together with a couple of per. (At the time of the study, friends two years ago, Mark Mark’s news cycle was Mark was spending a purchased a house as an continuous and he spent up majority of his time away investment and put £26,000 to six hours a day search- from Brighton, in Peter- into refurbishing it while ing for and receiving infor- borough, to help launch a they lived in it. The project mation. Mark was on the new product his company took 18 months to finish Internet most of the day charged him to manage. and they are proud of the and used that time to keep The commute would take A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 18
  • 19. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption three to seven hours in one ceived a copy of the Times others and her own trips direction depending on newspaper delivered to his were free; she said goes on traffic and he spent a lot of hotel room.) two holidays a year. time in his car and on the Mark also mentioned Angela worked in a phone.) Facebook as a source for largely female work force When he was home in news. He recently had a and her male colleagues Brighton, he would wake friend die and found out were mainly in managerial up to his mobile phone about it from another roles. When she discussed alarm and put on Sky friend who used e-mail via news consumption at work, sports first thing in the Facebook to let everyone she mentioned that all the morning. He would putter know about the death. girls were interested in gos- around and have a cup of Mark admitted to this being sip, fashion and celebrity tea while he listened to the a difficult and potentially stuff, while the managers latest sports news and then unfair way to tell people were all interested in foot- switch over to BBC news. about the death. He ques- ball and more hard-hitting Mark then drove himself tioned the use of Facebook news. and his two housemates, for certain types of “news.” She lived with her boy- who also work with him, friend in his apartment on to work and they listened a quiet residential street. to BBC Radio One’s Chris They had a big-screen TV Moyles Breakfast Show. Once at work, Mark checked BBC News online A ngela, a 28-year-old woman from Hove, nearby Brigh- but no computer or lap- top at home. Usually, An- gela woke up to her mobile and a few select sports ton, was a phone alarm and her part- sites. He followed this news Angela sales and ner put on Sky News, which and sports pattern through- 28 booking agent she watched before she out the day Mark did not . Booking for a travel went to work. On her drive use MSN or Yahoo and did agent company, spe- to work, she would listen to not look at other news sites. cializing in both local radio and BBC (If Mark was in Peterbor- snowboarding Radio One, and was a fan of ough, his routine was much and skiing holidays. Angela the Chris Moyles Breakfast the same, except that he re- got discounts on trips for Show. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 19
  • 20. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption At work, she would log She and her colleagues subscribe to RSS feeds or on to her PC and check would read it at lunch and any live reports or score- the BBC News Web site for then discard it or pass it on boards, as her work envi- the day’s headlines. Before to someone else. ronment was somewhat checking the stories, she After work, Angela liked monitored, though she had looked at the five-day fore- to take her horse for a freedom to use the Internet cast to see if she would be ride. On her way back, she at work and no sites were able to take her horse out didn’t listen to the radio blocked. that week. From there, she as she preferred the quiet. Overall, Angela was not would look for other stories At home she would watch very engaged with the that she was interested in the TV newscast with Sir news. She listened to and (such as the flooding in Trevor McDonald before read about the news in the England or the Madeline going to bed. morning and was typically McCann kidnapping story Angela’s Internet use was interested in human-inter- at the time of the field surprisingly limited. She est stories or headline news study). accessed news first thing that had a British focus. At lunch she would buy in the morning and then She had lost interest in a celebrity/fashion/gossip glanced at the news on her anything in the Middle East magazine, known in the Yahoo e-mail account but and did not follow much in U.K. as women’s weeklies. never read it. She did not politics. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 20
  • 21. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption A llen, a 20-year-old man, was pursuing his graduate degree at the Art Philadelphia | U.S. But usually, I will check at home because I am working on other stuff at school and 0 50 mi Institute of do not have time to browse 0 50 km Philadelphia; the Internet.” He checked Allen he studied NEW YORK the news three to four 20 graphic de- hours throughout the day, Graduate sign largely “one hour in the morning student because these Scranton and usually more when I skills would get back from school.” help him earn PENNSYLVANIA Allen had several RSS a higher salary than his feeds that allowed him to true passion, zoology . exclude news that he con- Allen’s curiosity and sidered “filler.” He was need to know drove his Harrisburg primarily interested in news consumption. Allen environmental news, global enjoyed keeping up with news, technology news and what was new in the war in Philadelphia some entertainment (about Iraq, politics and science. N.J. movies, not about the per- He did not check news on MD. sonal lives of celebrities). the go. He did not have and Allen thought of himself did not want a PDA, “Sure, as the face of news because if I had an iPhone, I’d would banter back and “I choose what I read” on check the news on the way forth about different head- the Internet. to school. But it is more of lines, articles or videos. a novelty I doubt between . In the evening, he would here and school there is spend about two hours L going to be some breaking checking the news. isa, a 27-year-old update on something.” Allen’s news consump- woman, was working Allen consumed news tion at school was shaped in account management in online for about an hour in by his other activities. “If the telecommunications the morning after he woke I have time in class I might industry . up. He and his roommate check for breaking news. Lisa got her news A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 21
  • 22. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption through TV and the Inter- online from work because She preferred NBC’s Live at net. She engaged with the the connection was faster Five newscast, because she news in the morning when and she could watch videos liked local news and liked she was getting ready for more easily Lisa said that . watch it on TV when she work. She the content of the story was at home. CNN.com and said that once determineed whether she MSNBC.com were her next Lisa at work she actively sought more infor- preferred sites for news 27 would visit mation. because she felt they were Accoun- hard-news Lisa primarily followed credible news sites. She tant Web sites mainstream sources from checked those sites at work when she television, radio and the when she was bored or was not buy . Internet. She also got infor- when a conversation with However, she mentioned mation regularly through a co-worker prompted her. visiting soft-news Web sites text messages and phone She preferred news Web often during work as well. calls on her PDA. Lisa got sites so her boss would not In the evening, Lisa her news from NBC (TV), think she was looking at turned on the television CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Ya- tabloid Web sites. from the time she got home hoo, the Philadelphia Daily Another favorite for her until she went to bed. Her News (print) and WKYW was Yahoo, which she kept news consumption clus- (radio). She also went to as her home page. She went tered around the hours of YouTube to get videos to Yahoo.com to check her 4 to 6 p.m. and then from about celebrities and other e-mail and she could see 10 to 11 p.m. She had her celebrity-focused Web sites, all the current headlines. PDA with her all the time, such as perezhilton.com. The Philadelphia Daily checking e-mail and tak- In addition, she occasion- News was a print source ing calls. If she checked ally watched Univision, a of news for her. Lisa got e-mail on her laptop, she Spanish-language TV chan- the paper from a co-worker might browse Yahoo’s latest nel, because she wanted to and sat at her desk while news headlines and peruse learn Spanish. she ate lunch and thumbed some stories that appealled Lisa’s preferred source through it. WKYW on the to her. She preferred to go and platform was NBC-TV . radio was important in her A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 22
  • 23. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption car and mostly for weather for a restaurant that was only person allowed to ac- and traffic. an eight-hour drive away cess a PDA on the “floor” Lisa’s PDA was central to and as a musician and a (in the venue where he her information and news- performer. Robert’s per- worked), he had become gathering. Lisa got e-mail, formances the “news node” for em- calls or text messages from were cabaret- ployees to get news up- friends about the news, Robert style and dates. Robert would look such as the story about 28 incorporated for particular news stories the singer Beyonce falling Events odd news on his PDA at work if he onstage (during the time of manager about cur- needed to communicate the field study). Her PDA rent events. something to his employ- also provided her with traf- Robert said ees. Robert engaged with fic updates when she was he would only go home to the news throughout the stuck in traffic. YouTube sleep and to feed his cat. day via his PDA. was also a source for con- He might spend one hour Of particular interest tent. Lisa would go to You- at home after he woke up was the connection Robert Tube after hearing about a a n d one hour at home has made between texting story to see a certain video before he went to bed. and checking news. After (as she did when she heard Robert’s social network finishing a text message, about Beyonce’s stumble). was rooted in his work. He Robert habitually hit the had worked at the perfor- Internet button on his R obert, a 28-year-old man, was working 50 to 80 hours a week as an mance venue for three years and spent a majority of his time there. Robert PDA and quickly browsed headlines. Other moments of engagement with news events manager at a perfor- did not have Internet ac- during the day included mance venue. He usually cess at home, so he relied overhearing the top of the arrived at work around on his phone (which he hour NPR (National Pub- noon a n d would stay until referred to as a Pocket PC) lic Radio) news that was somewhere between 10 and his office computer broadcast via the radio p.m. to 3 a.m. Robert also to keep in touch with the station WXPN that played worke d periodically as “outside” world. throughout the building an independent auditor Because Robert was the where he worked. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 23
  • 24. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption H annah, a 30-year-old woman who still lived at her family’s home, was Houston | U.S. with the news, utilizing both TV and the Internet until she felt “up to date.” ARK. studying OKLA. After an hour or two, she for the state began studying either at Hannah nursing board home, at a friend’s house 30 exams while or at a coffee shop. When Nursing working at Hannah was studying, graduate a hospital. Dallas she was usually using her She said she computer by taking test loved be- TEXAS questions and using online ing a nurse because she Austin study resources. When she described herself as a got tired she liked to “take compassionate person who Houston breaks and look at the news cared about people and the a bit.” In explaining this state of the world. “I stay habit, she said, “I like to up on the news because I have my mind concentrate wish I could make more of Gulf of on something else, not just 0 200 mi Mexico a difference.” She felt that go dead, because it’s harder 0 200 km since one person cannot to get my mind going again really make a difference if I totally disengage and globally, she could help daydream or something.” “one patient at a time” by a.m. to 7 p.m. Her days off At work, Hannah’s news informing those around her were usually spent study- consumption was much of what she learne d from ing for the board exams, more social, as her col- the news. “I pay more atten- either at home or with a leagues updated her on the tion to things that are more friend at a coffee shop. Her latest headlines while they significant to me and the daily routine was very dif- do their rounds. Keeping up world around me.” ferent between when she on the news at work was a Hannah worked at a hos- was at work and when she very communal endeavor pital about 15 minutes away was off. and an ingrained cultural from her home for three On her days off, Han- habit and even the patients to four days a week from 7 nah liked to start her day were involved. At work, A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 24
  • 25. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Hannah depended on oth- friend would be charged ternoons into evenings six ers to update her on the with committing a crime days a week, usually from 4 news. Her access points for in addition to the mother. to 8 p.m. She sat at the front news at work included the Hannah felt that because of the salon behind a coun- nurse sitting at the nurs- the two had been together ter and computer, greete d ing station with access to for so long and had four and scheduled guests as Internet and the computer other children that “there’s they came in a n d took in the break room, which no way he didn’t know she their payments when they she normally used to look was pregnant and I think left. Her other responsi- up or browse news a couple he should be punished bilities included sweeping, of times during a 12-hour too.” She checked every cleaning, washing towels shift. article she could find about a n d taking inventory . Much of Hannah’s news that story but never found When she had downtime, consumption behavior took the answer. She said she or when the door traffic was the form of a search for an- would continue to follow slow, she surfed the Inter- swers. Not being someone this story to see if any new net for news, usually start- who automatically accepted information was released. ing from the computer’s other people’s opinions homepage (msn.com) or her or an editorial piece, she e-mail homepage (Yahoo). tended to investigate the From there, she clicked on reasoning, facts and sup- porting evidence behind a story on her own until she B ess, an 18-year-old woman, was working as a receptionist at a hair headlines that most inter- ested or intrigued her, or that had some relevance to was satisfied with her own salon chain. Her mother her life or the lives of her opinion on it. was a hair stylist and Bess friends and family An avid . For instance, a story in had just taken her styling baseball fan, she always the headlines of the day test. She was clicked on baseball-related during the study was about to become a headlines. a mother in Ocean City, Bess stylist at the Maryland, who had left 18 same store The owner of her salon four fetuses out to die on Recep- in just a few hardly ever came in, but her property Hannah was . tionist weeks. Bess had a Web spyware ap- curious whether the boy- worke d af- plication installed on her A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 25
  • 26. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption computer so he could watch with her parents to spend and typically felt no need what she was doing on the more time with them. The to take action or be further screen. If she was is playing nightly news became a engaged. solitaire or looking at the time for her to catch up news, he would look at the check-in software program to see how many people with them and she said she enjoyed it. Bess would also sometimes look some- C orey, a 24-year-old, was working at Best Stor- age, a pri- were being worked on and thing up online from home, vately owned how many were queued. If particularly if she got a Corey storage he thought the salon was piece of a story sometime 24 facility, where too busy for her to be fid- during the day and was Aid/ customers dling around on the com- curious about the whole Student rent indi- puter, he would often call story She rarely turned on . vidual storage her and tell her to get busy. the computer at home to units. Corey Bess just graduated from just browse; rather, she was also worke d overnight high school in May and usually looking up some most nights at two different still lived at home with her specific story. halfway houses for mental- mother and stepfather. Her Bess was usually engaged ly challenged adult men. In 21-year-old boyfriend, who with the news only to the addition, Corey was study- she had been dating for five extent of discussing it with ing accounting. months at the time of the those around her. Rarely In the mornings, when field study, recently moved did a news story impact or he was at one the halfway in as well. change her behavior unless houses, Corey and “the They shared her small it was a local story about a guys” would sit around the childhood bedroom and had storm (“need to know about kitchen table and watch plans to save up enough the weather”), accident the news on TV (first the money to move out, find a (“need to know about traf- regular news, but as soon place of their own and get fic”) or murder/rape (“need as sports news comes on married. to know what areas to at 8 a.m. they switch to At home, Bess started avoid”). Bess was basically ESPN). After the news, he watching the news nightly a passive recipient of news usually would head to Best A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 26
  • 27. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Storage, where he worked had classes and usually was news insofar as it helpe- five to seven days a week. too busy for news. How- dhim feel more confident When he first got to work, ever, on the few nights he and intelligent and allowed he caught up on what was was home, he would often him to form opinions for new (starting with Yahoo sit with his wife, Mel, discussing issues with oth- and moving to CNN.com) and watch the news on ers. He felt it was important or confirmed stories he had CBS, ABC or CNN. They to “know what’s going on” heard on TV that morning, discussed what they saw, around him and enjoyed as well as from the newspa- but Corey tended to avoid talking with other people, per or word of mouth. talking “politics” with whether they be colleagues, An important trigger for Mel, since she would get fellow students, teachers, knowing the news was a co- annoyed and bored with family or friends, about worker. Corey talked a lot political discussions. what was going on. Since with one of his co-workers Corey did not have Inter- he kept up with the news about news. As he said, net access at home, so he so much, he usually found “Half the reason I’m so only looked online when he that a lot of the informa- intent on keeping up with was working at the storage tion was repeated and that sports is so I can argue facility or at school. he knew most of what he about it with her!” Corey was engaged with saw in headlines already . Two nights a week, he what he learned from the A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 27
  • 28. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption S usan, a 25-year-old woman, was living in the suburbs with her Kansas City | U.S. 0 100 mi the radio,” so she avoided most exposure to news. Sometimes, though, she parents, her IOWA would listen to drive-time 0 100 km brother and DJs discuss current events Susan his wife a n d while she was in the car. 25 their 8-year- Susan might catch the Nanny/ old son, early news with her father Student Frankie. Su- Kansas City before she left the house san’s goal was at 7:15 a.m., for her job as to be working a nanny But typically, she . as a nurse, or in some type did not get time to hear the of field where she could KAN. Jefferson City news in the morning be- helping others. MISSOURI cause she was busy helping Susan’s direct news con- her nephew get ready for sumption was very struc- the day and preparing to tured and public. Watching Springfield go to work. She paid extra TV news was a daily, family attention later in the day event, particularly in the to stories people told from OKLA. ARK. evening prior to dinner. hearing or reading the Her family watched the lo- news. In this way, Susan cal news at 5 p.m., then the said the news “kind of national news at 5:30 p.m., was based on television comes to me … from other followed by the local news viewing. Susan’s active people who read the news- again at 6 p.m. The family newsgathering routine paper” or who watch the did not subscribe to news- was based mainly on the morning news. papers. times other people were She was particularly keen Susan had a laptop and consuming news. In the car, on human-interest and the family had an Inter- she had the opportunity local stories. Susan believ- net connection. However, to listen to the radio, but eed most news was far too Susan described her news for her, “the radio is for negative and she actively consumption as “very music.” She did not like to avoided national and inter- traditional,” because it listen to “people talking on national news. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 28
  • 29. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Sometimes she would formation that was close “Given the choice,” he look up the information to him. “It’s important to added, he “would probably about breaking news on know what’s going on if go to most popular stories” Google – “Google’s a little it’ll affect me.” The face of because the title did not bit better” – to obtain more news for Jack was the face make him feel quite so information. She did not of his social network. He depressed. Jack followed go first to news Web sites, felt that his friends, par- sports news and other which she said could be dif- ents, co-workers and uncle news stories differently He . ficult to navigate and there- were the constant face of received RSS feeds on his fore frustrated her. Mostly, news for him. These were Yahoo homepage about his Google and Yahoo were the people who “I hear favorite teams and sports tools that she associates from and talk about news leagues and followed those more with college course- and events.” At the same headlines. He said he would work and writing papers. time, he said that he did not just glance at other stories. know a lot of people who Jack had three variables were highly informed. that determined whether a J ack, a 22- year-old man, attende d the Universi- ty of Kansas Jack distinguished be- tween “breaking news,” “latest news,” “top stories,” news story was high pri- ority for him: location of an event, its severity and and lived in and “most popular” news his prior familiarity with Jack Lawrence. He stories. “Breaking news” the context of the story . 22 started out at was “not the full story, like He acknowledged, though, Psych the Universi- a preview, but it is kind that his ideas about what major ty of Kansas of annoying sometimes. was news were changing as a business I don’t like to get bits and as he matured. “In high major and pieces of information.” school, I couldn’t care less shifted to psychology He . “Latest news” was just a about the news. In my more and four fraternity broth- fuller exposition of what in-depth classes, I’ve been ers shared half of a duplex was previously “breaking learning the way the world apartment in a new subdi- news,” but he said that and the government work.” vision on the south side of “top stories” were “more He found that the scope town. depressing” than latest or of things that affect him To Jack, news was in- breaking news stories. was widening: “I’m start- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 29
  • 30. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption ing to get out on my own versity of Kansas newspa- in the expanding south side and there are things I need per. He also listened to 101 of Kansas City The two- . to know about like Social FM and 98.9 FM, especially story house s a t at the edge Security Jack therefore .” DJ Johnny Dare and to AM of farmland. tought that what was news 810 WHB, a sports talk sta- Max was en- for him would probably tion. These tended to be the Max rolled at the change over time. easiest sources to access. 20 local commu- As for his approach to Yahoo was convenient to Market nity college. news, Jack said, “I don’t access because it was his worker Max did not really go hunting for the Internet homepage and the consume the news; I just accept it when Daily Kansan was avail- news much it comes.” This was clearly able free on campus when when he was actually work- not the case for sports school was in session. ing, but he did when he news, which he actively Secondary sources for was on break. In the break sought out on a daily basis, Jack included Fox 4 local room, he looked at The usually sometime after he TV news, CNN, MSNBC Kansas City Star newspa- woke up: “I always look up and the Lawrence Journal per – first the sports, then the sports. Then I might World newspaper. These the auto classifieds, then look at the weather and sources were outside his the FYI section (a lifestyle finally the headlines if I normal patterns of con- section) and the headlines. have time.” He was particu- sumption. However, with In the break room he could larly active in finding news certain friends and co- look at the news openly, but about his fantasy sports workers he might use them the environment behind teams. While he made a more frequently . the seafood counter was not habit of looking up infor- conducive to reading the mation on Yahoo Sports, he paper. said that if he saw a story He would sometimes on ESPN first, he might go to the Internet to follow up on it. M ax was working in the seafood and meat de- partment of a large grocery discuss the news with co- workers. He found talking about the news with the re- Jack’s main sources were store in the far southern tirees he worked with to be Yahoo Sports, ESPN and suburbs. Max was living particularly enlightening. the Daily Kansan, the Uni- with his parents and sister “I learn a lot from them, A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 30
  • 31. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption about all kinds of things to a story. did not associate Wikipedia I wouldn’t know about Because he worked most with user-generated con- otherwise. Financial stuff, of the day, if he watched tent. Instead, he suggested for example.” These discus- the news on television, that he did not trust user- sions were public, because it was usually late in the generated information. it was not a distraction to morning or in the evening “People who use blogs are the work of servicing a after work. He also enjoyed probably blobs,” he re- seafood counter. and depended on his car marked. Outside of work he and he listened to the radio Overall, he did not rep- consumed the news largely when he was driving to resent the stereotypical with friends. This was and from work and around 20-something when it came particularly true of sports town. to computers. “The com- news, which was the sub- Interestingly, Max said puter is a time suck,” he ject of heated discussion that “news is work; you complained. He only went between his male friends have to work” to access and on the computer during and himself. With them, he understand it. The faces his “down time. If I happen watched television, espe- of news for him were the to be on the computer, it’s cially ESPN. With his girl- social satirists and news because I’m bored.” He did friend, he was more likely entertainment anchors Jon not see himself as part of to watch E! Entertainment Stewart and Stephen Col- the wired generation. news and admitted that bert (cable TV comedians). “I would like to go on she had gotten him inter- They embody what Max record as saying that I more ested in celebrity gossip. called “anti-negativity .” or less pride myself on the But most of his news came When Max was online, fact that I don’t spend all from friends. “I get more he used Yahoo most often my time on the computer information from hearsay to search for information. not using my mind … like or my friends. They’re like “Another thing I like to hit people who aren’t out there human TiVos.” Hearing up is Wikipedia,” because experiencing what there is something from one of his “you can type in just about in the world.” friends would often prompt anything” and get the news him to pay extra attention you want. Interestingly, he A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 31
  • 32. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption A ndrew, a 20-year-old man, was finishing his second year of college at De Silicon Valley | U.S. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, among other parts of programs, such as the 0 200 mi Anza Commu- Jerry Springer talk show nity College. 0 200 km and Family Guy, the ani- Andrew A business mated situation comedy . NEVADA 20 major, he Andrew said his normal Business p l a n n e d Sacramento daily routine involved read- major to move ing the sports section while on to the San Francisco eating breakfast and read- University of Santa Clara ing it again while watching California in Santa Cruz. San Jose TV over lunch. He usually He went to school full time Sillicon consumed sports news but and worke d part time in Valley sometimes he read the front the hardware section at CALIFORNIA page of the newspaper. The Sears, a department store. Los main trigger that spurred Andrew spent some of his Angeles him to check the news was Pacific time at home, but most of Ocean boredom. Whenever he was his time hanging out with bored, he watched TV or his friends. Andrew lived San Diego looked online for news. with his family . Staying up to date on Andrew was an active the news was important to news seeker. During the ob- Jose Mercury News. When Andrew. He said that when servation period, Andrew he returned to his room, he went to Israel for two spent about an hour and a he went online to Yahoo weeks, he did not have ac- half doing his online class Finance and read an article cess to TV or the Internet. and homework and then about Netflix and Block- He came back completely took a break to eat. Dur- buster stocks. Then he con- unaware of what was going ing that time, he turned on tinued with his homework. on and “out of the loop.” ESPN and watched sports A while later, he watched He told the story of a friend news while glancing at the more sports news on ESPN. whose parents canceled sports section of The San He also caught part of their cable TV leaving her , A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 32
  • 33. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption unaware of what was going that he first started check- his news consumption and on in the news. ing the news purely out of searched for online articles boredom, but it had become and sites that interested a habit. He checked the him. For Frank, news was F rank, a 19-year-old man, was living with his parents in Santa Clara. He news three to four times a day: before he left his house in the afternoon, before he everywhere and he did not wait for it to come to him. The ease with which was attending his second ate dinner and before he he could access the news year at a local community went to sleep. He had been was made clear during the college and was interested doing this for at least a year in-depth interview when he in political science, local and the habit had begun to stated, “Back in the olden news and take on a bit more meaning days, people used to pay for anything that for him. As he explained, newspapers. Now you can Frank directly influ- “I read the news when I get find everything for free.” 19 enced his life. bored, but then one of the Frank used headlines to Politics He d i d not reasons I read the news is decide whether or not to major distinguish because I gain informa- read articles. For example, between the tion.” on the Digg site, he browsed types of news Frank shared informa- the headlines and read he enjoye d . He repeatedly tion with his friends via the paragraph-long sum- said that anything that af- links he sent them over maries. He estimated that fected his life in some way AIM, a Web messaging 75 percent of the time he was news. service. He often sent them continued on with the sto- Frank’s main source of funny news stories and ries. When he browsed the news came from the Inter- they, in turn, would send headlines, he was looking net. He looked at Digg.com him news links. When for something that caught and any sites that were he regularly met up with his eye, something that linked from Digg. He also friends at Starbucks the related to his life. accessed news from Google conversation often began Frank quickly jumped News, the local television with “Did you hear about from site to site and article station’s Web site KTVU. …?” to article while consum- com, as well as Mercu- ing the news. Frank moved ryNews.com. Frank said Fran was proactive in on when a story got more A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 33
  • 34. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption attention than it deserved. quite engaged with local her husband may take. When a story could not go happenings, commenting Sally paid attention to anywhere else, he stopped on some stories and main- headlines in the newspaper paying attention to it. In tained an and online and used them the case of Paris Hilton interest in as a guide to know which going to jail (during the Sally any stories articles to read. If a head- time of the field study), one 25 that had to do line resonated with her, if picture of her going to jail Office with her pro- it related in some way to told the whole story It was . manager fession in the her life or interests, then enough. health field. she read the article. Verify- While watch- ing stories was not very ing the news, Sally checked important to Sally, as she her e-mail on the laptop she said, “I don’t confirm the and her husband keep near news I hear unless I want S ally, a 25-year-old woman, was work- ing as an office manager/ the television. After watching the local news for about 20 minutes to know more about some- thing or find out if it re- ally happened. There’s too administrative assistant at she turned on an Oprah ep- much news to do that with a start-up health insurance isode that she had taped on everything.” company She left her house . their TiVo machine. While Sally preferred to get at 8:30 each morning and watching Oprah, Sally was her news from the televi- had a 30-minute commute checking her e-mail, but sion, particularly ABC and that she shared with her stopped to take notes on NBC, because she thought husband. They listene d to products that Oprah fea- the content was very good the local public radio sta- tured on her show. When and she enjoyed the mix tion that carried NPR for her husband began to use of local and national news the duration of their drive. the laptop, Sally switched that could be gathered in During the evening to surfing the Web on her a short time. Sally liked to observed during the study, iPhone. Besides checking stay current with the news Sally returned home from her e-mail, she went to because it helped her make work and immediately Digg, because she wanted judgments and decisions. turned on the television to get information about a For example, during this to the local news. She was possible vacation she and study Sally was interested A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 34
  • 35. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption in buying a car and she could participate in discus- Overall, Sally was a found several news reports sions during lunch. She and believer of news. Sally on car safety to be particu- her colleagues always talk- defined news as an unbi- larly helpful. News stories ed about the news, although ased source of facts from that directly impacted her most commonly that meant which she got most all of life were most newsworthy celebrity gossip. One of her her information. She con- to Sally. colleagues who was always sidered news to be honest; The news gave Sally up on such news usually be- something she could use something to talk about at gan the conversations, and to form her own opinions. work. She stressed that it if it was something Sally “Newsworthy is something was very important to be did not know about, she that affects my life.” well-informed so that she later looked it up online. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 35
  • 36. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Changing Consumption: Conclusions and Recommendations Today’s Model T he ultimate goal from ethnographic research and anthropological analy- and services people use or might use. In this fashion, a behavioral model can pro- routines, versus deeper background, labeled in the illustration as the back sis is to uncover the deep vide a company or industry story and future stories and roots of the culture under – the news business in this spin-offs. The study showed investigation. The Deep case – with a framework for people spending the major- Structure helps explain innovation. ity of their time “above the 1) why people do what The illustration on page fold,” to use a print news they do and by extension, 37 was drawn by the Con- expression, consuming 2) what products and text team to capture the mostly headlines and up- services are working or not news consumption behav- dates. Meanwhile, “below- working for them. ior and needs observed the-fold” content captured You might consider the in this study group. The much less attention. structure that emerges observations suggested an from such an inquiry as an imbalance in the compo- The fold also can be seen experience or behavioral nents that make up what as a dividing line between model. might be called the “whole news that was consumed With an understanding story” behind a particular mostly passively (facts and of the culture’s roots, it piece or body of news. Par- updates encountered from becomes possible to map ticipants in the study were e-mail, portals or word those roots to people’s receiving and accessing of mouth) versus deeper actual and prospective an imbalance of headlines dives that required more behaviors and the products and updates in their daily active consumption, or real A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 36
  • 37. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption “work,” as the subjects of becoming vestigial news News consumers do themselves described it. organs. have a ubiquity of news to People in the study were The logical explanation select from at almost any- able to articulate the imbal- for much of the current time, from anywhere on ance of their news diet as a news consumption be- a variety of technologies problem. They spoke of the havior is connected to the and platforms—television, difficulty to “keep up with Internet-driven, 24/7 news Internet, mobile devices, a story” and mourned the world. In the study, seem- radio and more. How- loss of resolution in their ingly unlimited access to ever, the reality is that the news. In short, the study news, through unlimited abundance of news and illustrated a contemporary channels, created an envi- ubiquity of choice do not news consumption model ronment for excess. The necessarily translate into where the foundational ele- participants in the study a better news environment ments for news and jour- were consuming a steady for consumers. In fact, the nalism – background and diet of bite-size pieces of consumers in this study next steps – were mostly news in the form of head- exhibited news fatigue as out of range. Stories “below lines, updates and quick they attempted to navigate the fold” seemed in danger facts. an information stream that Today’s model Faster delivery vehicles and platforms have cre- Headlines, Consumers say ated a news model based Breaking they are inun- on quick delivery and Updates Facts dated with these quick-scan consumption. aspects … New generations of news THE ‘FOLD’ consumers seldom dig deeper – or “below the Back story … while explain- fold” – which may Depth, Future stories/ ing they can’t find explain why they crave Breadth Spin-offs these more information. aspects of a story. * – Larger boxes indicate more available content A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 37
  • 38. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption mostly dishes up recycled want to be fed bits. I want a valuable result. Many headlines and updates. For to know all the details at of the subjects found they example, Jack from Kansas once.” could use the news as City said that “news [today] But there are signs of powerful social currency is not the full story, but hope, too. The subjects in their interactions with more like a preview—it’s talked about “working their others. Raj from Hyderabad kind of annoying some- news” as they tried to un- and Jill from Brighton were times. I don’t like to get bits cover the depth of news and good examples of this prom- and pieces of information.” the resolution of stories ising phenomenon. Raj used And Riya from Hyderabad they desired. Furthermore, a whiteboard to chart his said that she loses interest they wanted to “work their prospective conversations; after three days if a story news” on their own, putting Jill kept up on sports to im- has become stale or is just together their news by pro- press her boss at work. repeating earlier news. ducing it (at least in part) The most hopeful sign The study clearly showed by themselves. Lisa from that came through in these a contemporary news diet Philadelphia was a good observations is that news that was short and getting example. To her, news was fatigue is not fatal. Energy shorter on journalistic sub- “here and now. If you want remains for the pursuit of stance. For instance, when background, it’s up to you,” news worth sharing, as the speaking about developing she said. following key findings sug- stories, Robert from Phila- That dedication to work- gest. delphia said he “does not ing the news also produced A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 38
  • 39. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Field Study Findings News Is Connected to E-mail A majority of these subjects digested news alongside their e-mail. However, the small doses of news in e-mail formats mostly failed to deliver the The predominant use of deeper content that might Y a h o o , MSN and other have produced a richer and Web-based e-mail services On the surface, the study more rewarding experience promoted this behavior and suggested that matching for these participants. likely ingrained a habit for e-mail with news checking Since e-mail is mostly e-mail/news checking. “I was a perfect marriage. viewed as an update sys- get my news when I check Delivering simple head- tem, news producers should my e-mail,” was the most lines fit nicely with e-mail explore new ways to move often heard response in behavior – pushing small users to deeper content reference to when people snippets of information from those programs. get their news. via quick, half-sentences. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 39
  • 40. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Constant Checking Is Linked to Boredom A fter e-mail, partici- pants in the study said they checked updates and updates. Their behavior therefore suggested a “false positive”; that is, the par- their habit to check news out of boredom and were changing their behavior. headlines as a way to pass ticipants were checking Frank in the Silicon Val- time and break boredom. news more frequently but ley, for instance, actively This behavior appears to not exploring stories in any searched for online articles be related to the e-mail depth. and sites that interested connection with news as Some participants in the him. But Frank nonethe- well as to the ubiquity of study had become aware of less made quick jumps news access and choice from site to site and article available online. Overall, to article, suggesting that participants in the study news producers need to find constantly checked for ways to keep people like news and therefore techni- him engaged, so that they cally consumed news on a can quickly decide whether very frequent basis. How- a news environment merits ever, the news they most further exploration. frequently accessed largely consisted of headlines and A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 40
  • 41. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Contemporary Lifestyles Impact News Consumption T he contemporary context for news consumption helps make represented in such set- tings. That is, does the fact that they are sitting next to across time and space to countless other individuals, groups and information, sense of the seemingly each other and not talking as well as to each other. irrational news-checking mean they are anti-social? Understanding how to de- behavior that was observed Not talking does not mean liver valuable news across in this study For example, . they are not communicat- such “virtually relative” consider the living room ing. What is important to environments like Mark’s in Mark’s Brighton apart- understand is how they living room appears key ment, featuring a large flat- are communicating. In to making a better connec- screen TV and a Sky Digital this case, the friends were tion with this audience. set-top box. A typical scene involved in a multidimen- Popular online search and in the lounge found Mark, sional infor- sharing mecha- roommates and girlfriends mation expe- nisms are tools seated in front of the flat- rience. They that could be screen with laptops also were physi- harnessed to opened and online. cally located provide deeper In order to make sense of in the living access to news the behavior in the room, room but in content and vi- it is necessary to first re- reality were ral distribution define the social behavior connected opportunities. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 41
  • 42. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Consumers Want Depth But Aren’t Getting It P articipants in this study did show signs of largely shallow and erratic conditioned to respond to headlines and updates as presenting whole news sto- the fold.” For the participants in this study, in-depth search- news consumption, howev- ries, when in reality they es for news were limited er the study also suggested do not. We observed con- mostly to crisis situations. that people wanted more sumers click and re-click For instance, during the pe- depth and were trying to news updates and head- riod when the field research find it. Unfortunately, more lines and continue to do so, was conducted in 2007, a often than not, people did seemingly regardless of major bridge collapsed in not understand that their the outcome. Unknowingly, Minneapolis, Minnesota. attempts to substantiate they often clicked through Bess, the receptionist at and validate stories were a link for more “depth” and the hair salon in Houston, not actually getting them in reality just got the same clicked on the “interactive” anything new. Typically, content from a different pieces of the Minneapo- people in the study were “news brand,” or on a dif- lis bridge story on Yahoo, just checking the same sto- ferent platform. which digitally recreated ry through the same source If the news industry con- the fall of the bridge and (or news “brand”) across tinues to support this ha- pointed out potential areas different media. Or they bitual response, a cycle of of weakness in the bridge’s were checking different “above-the-fold” scanning structure. platforms but unwittingly for headlines and updates The implication for the reading content coming will likely be perpetuated, news industry is to see from the same source, such limiting demand for – and crises as times to educate as A P . ultimately the supply of – news consumers about the From a psychological more in-depth news cov- tools for digging deeper point of view, one might erage. In business terms, into stories with the hope interpret this news con- this could result in the loss that they will use these sumption behavior as a of potential revenue from tools more often. classic Pavlovian response. premium content delivery, In other words, people were or content that lives “below A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 42
  • 43. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption News Is Multitasked U nlike past media models, where con- sumers made a scheduled tention to the news as they were consuming it. For example, Mark in Brighton for depth necessitated more attention to the activity than these subjects tended date with a source of almost always consumed to give it. This argues for news – the morning paper news in tandem with some the development of more or the evening news, for other activity, such as driv- interactive news experi- example – the participants ing or working. ences, such as the bridge in this study almost always The tendency toward collapse package that en- consumed news as part of multitasking the news was ticed Bess to engage more another set of tasks. Multi - another key factor contrib- intently with the content. tasking kept these subjects uting to the predominant from giving their full at- scanning behavior. Going Consumers Are Experiencing News Fatigue P articipants in this study showed signs of news fatigue; that is, they repeatedly were left unsat- isfied. Ultimately, news fa- tigue brought many of the in the study, the negativity of news – tragedy, crisis, war, terror – added to the appeared debilitated by in- participants to a learned desire to tune out. formation overload and un- helplessness response. Ironically, satirical news satisfying news experienc- The more overwhelmed or shows provided an antidote es. Many consumers in the unsatisfied they were, the for news fatigue by creating study were so overwhelmed less effort they were willing an “anti-negative.” Ameri- and inundated by news that to put in. can respondents in the they just did not know what Adding to news fatigue study noted that the news to do. Participants with among these participants comedian Jon Stewart news fatigue would try to was the widespread belief could take even the most ascertain whole news sto- that “all news today is neg- serious news, spin it and ries, but they regularly and ative.” Over and over again make it palatable. Robert A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 43
  • 44. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption in the United States said helpless to change their watch the morning news.” he liked Howard Stern, a news consumption at a The implication for the crude radio show that dis- time when they have more news industry is not to cusses newsworthy items control and choice than flood the marketplace with as well as entertainment- ever before. When the news repetitive content, but to type news. “[Stern] talks wore them down, partici- counter the audience’s about things in a way I can pants in the study showed anxiety and overload with relate to. I don’t need an a tendency to passively compelling content deliv- anchor to tell me a script. I receive versus actively seek ered in innovative ways, get it. For a lot of news it’s news. As one person put whether it be with technol- a case of if we don’t laugh, it, “I don’t go hunting for ogy or tongue in cheek. It is we’ll cry I’d rather trust a . news, I just accept it when important to keep in mind satirist than a wax-faced it comes.” Or as another that learned helplessness suit on network news.” said, “News kind of comes is a chronic condition that The irony in news fatigue to me … from other people can be reversed. is that these consumers felt who read the paper or A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 44
  • 45. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Television Impacts Consumers Expectations P articipants in the study consistently mentioned TV news as an important (Stephen Colbert) as “news sources.” The two are back-to-back news satire and entertainment. By using the old style news delivery formula, news en- element in their news diet, shows on cable television. tertainment shows deliver both as a point of frustra- Jack from Kansas City said a balance of “above” and tion and relief. On the nega- Stewart was “absolutely” “below” the fold content, tive side, broadcast televi- the human face of news for and participants in the sion’s propensity to “tease” him. study ate it up. Participants the news in promos that The fact that people in in Britain mentioned Sir break into programming the study were growing Trevor McDonald in a simi- and throughout newscasts tired of real news and lar vein. Unlike Stewart or themselves was a major relaxing with fake news Colbert, Sir Trevor plays contributor to news fatigue would seem to confirm largely a traditional anchor for many of these subjects. the conventional wisdom role, but he ends shows Max from Kansas City, for that young consumers with a satirical spot that’s example, wanted to catch are rejecting traditional entertaining. “top stories” but felt televi- news formats. But, in fact, The takeaway from these sion news usually “hides” these American shows cast television trends is that them at the bottom of an themselves in the formula this young audience had hour. On the other end of of old-style broadcast news little patience for formats the spectrum, some of the journalism with simple sets that promise and don’t de- U.S. participants were obvi- and an anchor behind the liver. They enthusiastically ous fans of shows that turn desk presenting a series embraced clever presenta- the news into entertain- of headlines followed by tions that delivered even ment. Several referenced depth, spin-offs and editori- more than they promised, “fake news,” specifically alizing. The viewer actually such as the fake news cable The Daily Show (Jon Stew- gets a significant dose of shows. art) and The Colbert Report content along with humor A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 45
  • 46. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Story Resolution Is Key and Sports and Entertainment Deliver P articipants in the study consistently mentioned the importance of sports get a series of updates and headlines balanced with in-depth back story, future an end or clear next steps. Games are won and lost; movies are released and and entertainment news in story and editorializing. reviewed; stars are born their lives. People enjoyed and followed everywhere. their sports and entertain- The behavior of the par- General interest news, poli- ment news regardless of ticipants also suggests that tics in particular, cannot format, and it is worth people loved their sports always offer such resolu- noting that sports and and entertainment news be- tion, but building that kind entertainment news on TV cause of the level of resolu- of storytelling into other borrow heavily from old- tion that this type of news content areas could have an school broadcast journal- offers. Stories tend to have impact on this audience’s ism formulas. Audiences a beginning, middle and engagement level. News Takes Work Today But Creates Social Currency S everal people in the study were able to articulate the concept that to re-balance the relation- ship between “above-the- fold and “below-the-fold” many said just that. Raj diagramed the news for himself on a whiteboard news takes work today . news on their own terms. routinely As people came . They might be called the “News is shallow today,” to understand the reality of “enlightened news con- one participant said, “If contemporary news offer- sumers” – people who saw you want background, it’s ings, they showed signs of through the fog of their up to you.” By saying that wanting to take matters news fatigue and were do- news was up to them, the into their hands. If news ing something about it. In consumers in this study was going to take real work, essence, the enlightened were suggesting that they, then it should also work news consumers in this the consumers, were the for them and help them study were actually trying “face of news today And .” meet their personal needs. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 46
  • 47. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Any news that did not meet and updates, did not offer platforms. Sharable infor- these needs was ultimately people in the study enough mation was the key In this . deemed unhelpful and value to create the cur- study, people were observed ignored. rency they needed in their in constant communica- The enlightened con- lives. They longed for more tion with their extended sumers turned news into news they could use. social networks. Following “units” of social currency a particular news story that could be used in a Several participants was in large part depen- variety of interpersonal sought help, not from the dent on whether the news situations – to look smart, media, but from their own was worth sharing with connect with friends and networks of friends, family a trusted member of the family and even move up and co-workers. Not sur- network. As one member the socio-economic lad- prisingly, sports and enter- of the study said, “News der. But the news as it is tainment news was quickly helps me maintain relation- predominantly delivered shared and transmitted, ships.” in digital formats today, in checked and re-shared over the form of quick headlines varieties of media and A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 47
  • 48. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Recommendations T he competing notions of “news fatigue” and “news as social currency” At a high level, the chal- lenge for news providers is two-fold: Create appealing answer that more diffi- cult question for the news industry, but the value stand out among these content, designed to satisfy proposition is clear for both findings. This study dem- all four news needs in the producers and consumers: onstrated across cultural consumption model (Facts, Young people are tired of boundaries that the news Updates, Back Story, Future the same old news and want can turn consumers off, Story) and then deliver something better. They just as easily as it can turn it across all the channels just need some help. Many them on. The key value these consumers use. But have lost sight of what to point to the audience was even if you create news do once they get “below the news they could use. They people can use, how do fold.” understood that aggregat- you reach consumers who The following pages con- ing their own personal spurn established packag- tain some summary recom- news reports could involve ing and consume informa- mendations to the news real work, but they were tion in haphazard, non- industry based on these willing to do it if the effort linear fashion? findings. produced real currency . Anthropologists cannot A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 48
  • 49. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption One: Delivering Depth C urrently, news con- sumption is frequently connected with e-mail, but venues should be explored to deliver depth. In this time of “virtually relative” behavior to be more proac- tive about news consump- tion. News producers have the preponderance and environments, multiple a unique opportunity to overwhelming nature of channels are a necessity . re-engage this enlightened e-mail have begun to make Some participants in the segment of the audience it less relevant as a deep study became aware of by designing innovative information source. E-mail their habit to check news formats and creating easier may work best as an alert- out of boredom and have pathways to deep content. ing mechanism, and other consciously changed their Two: Addressing News Fatigue and Balance T he irony surrounding news fatigue is that, at precisely the time con- as a way to balance their news consumption, perhaps without realizing it. The sumers by improving the discoverability of deep and relevant content, eliminat- sumers have gained more “fake” news programs are ing as much repetition and choice and control over providing all four pieces duplication as possible in their news consumption, of the news consumption their news and bringing they are actually feeling model and adding enter- closure to stories whenever more and more helpless. tainment on top of it. possible. The younger generation News producers can give has turned to “fake” news control back to the con- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 49
  • 50. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Three: Creating Social Currency C onsumers are using news as social curren- cy in a variety of ways: to the dynamics of this new environment and creat- ing mechanisms to enable age will not automatically enable satisfying connec- tions with the news, as the stay connected with loved better search and sharing experiences of these sub- ones, to be the hub in their of news will harness the jects attest. circle of friends, to advance power of this emerging The clear conclusion of in their careers and to en- social currency system. this work commissioned by gage with others they don’t Although consumers AP is that the mix of strate- know. Current technolo- have gained more control gies for content and distri- gies and globalization have over where, when and how bution will require continu- led to changes in the value they consume the news, the ous fine-tuning to restore chain for news. Is it the task of restoring balance to the power once delivered news industry or consum- the news consumption mod- by the packaged media of ers of news who produce el identified in this study the analog era. That fine- social currency from news? requires active engagement tuning, in turn, relies on a Today, it is both. News is from news producers. Deep- sophisticated understand- no longer simply delivered, er news resources, beyond ing of the value proposition in a one-way transaction, the oversupply of Facts for this new generation of from producer to consumer. and Updates, must be built consumers, who will draw Communications are two- out, and the routes to those currency from the news – if way, and news is widely resources need to be con- they can find it. shared among consumers structed. If left to chance, themselves. Understanding the machines of the digital A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 50
  • 51. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption ‘AP 2.0’ – Embracing a New Model for News Delivery How AP Mapped Behavioral Patterns to Digital Strategy T he idea seemed fasci- nating but unbeliev- able: Research had uncov- scientists to participate in the study . The goal of the project ered a young man in India was relatively mundane. so obsessed with the news AP pursued the research that he committed his to put a human face on the analysis of current events growing universe of data to a whiteboard every night about the shifting media before going to bed. habits of the digital genera- “Raj” didn’t just consume the The existence of such a tion. The anthropological news; he diagramed it. newshound seemed much study was to be combined too good to be true. Could with other market and it be that untapped demand from obscurity last year for trend analysis to inform actually remained to be an in-depth study of news AP’s strategic planning for harnessed in the oversup- consumption around the future news services. plied news marketplace? world, commissioned by Thanks to Raj and the The behavior of Raj, a AP. He was not discovered other subjects in this study, young engineering student by an AP journalist. He AP got much more than it in Hyderabad, seemed to surfaced, by chance, among bargained for. In addition suggest there was hope. 18 men and women in six to telling detail about indi- Raj (identified here by cities (four U.S. and two vidual consumer behavior, pseudonym) was one of the abroad), who were solic- the powerful conclusions real, live people plucked ited by a team of cultural of the study helped define A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 51
  • 52. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption a new framework for think- example, said he used his didn’t have quite as much ing about how the news nightly whiteboard analy- at stake, but they also meets – or mostly misses – sis as a foundation for his said they used the news to this audience. interactions the next day to inform their choices and As the cultural experts win friends and influence support their personal from the Context-Based people. He said he hoped interactions. In general, the Research group have ex- that, over time, his mastery news served as a basic form plained in their analysis, of events would help him of “social currency” in all the young consumers in rise above his hereditary of their lives, the Context this study group were eager caste and move up in the researchers concluded. to consume news and found world. great value in it. Raj, for Others in the study News Diet Out of Balance W hile that conclusion was reassuring, the most urgent finding was and electronic word of mouth shared over mobile devices or instant messag- The over-consumption of facts and updates is un- derstandable in the con- not. The research team dis- ing. Indeed, many of the text of these young lives. covered a deep strain of fa- facts and updates they were These subjects, whether tigue among these subjects seeing seemed repetitive or, in Hyderabad or Kansas that traced to an overload worse, promised more than City, mostly encountered of basic staples in the news they were delivering in the the news opportunistically, diet – the facts and updates form of real news. meaning they ran into it that tend to dominate the The anthropologists, via computer or mobile digital news environment. viewing the phenomenon device. Their television The subjects were be- from a cultural perspective, viewing and newspaper ing bombarded every day concluded that the subjects’ reading were sporadic in with news in small bursts news diets were therefore most cases. – headlines in e-mail pro- out of balance. They were Those observations wor- grams, snippets on portal eating too many chips and ried the anthropologists pages or in search results not enough vegetables. and led them to conclude A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 52
  • 53. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption that informed societies which the young people The anthropologists would be threatened – let were either already finding used the arrangement and alone the news business or looking for. The com- relative size of the boxes – if this snacking habit ponents were laid out as to communicate the imbal- were allowed to persist. stacked boxes labeled Facts, ance they observed. The With that, the stakes were Updates, Back Story and subjects were generally suddenly raised for what Future Stories. overdosing on Facts and started out as a business Facts and Updates – what Updates – represented by strategy project. happened? -- are the staples the bigger boxes – and In their report to AP, of breaking news and the yearning for, yet not find- the researchers created a predominant form of news ing, more breadth and simple illustration to sum online. The concept of Back depth in the news. up their findings. The il- Story represents the con- As the researchers de- lustration sought to break text of a news item – what scribed it, using an old down the consumption does it mean? Future Sto- newspaper idiom for em- of the subjects into four ries represent the resolu- phasis, the subjects were basic components of news, tion – what happens next? mostly skimming the news, Context’s Headlines, model Breaking As the researchers Updates Facts described it, using an old newspaper THE ‘FOLD’ idiom for emphasis, Back story the subjects were Depth, Future stories/ mostly skimming Spin-offs the news, rather than Breadth diving more deeply “below the fold.” * – Larger boxes indicate more available content A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 53
  • 54. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption rather than diving more that same editorial confi- the tidy packages that news deeply “below the fold.” dence continues to inspire providers produce. News Furthermore, the research- the production of front pag- gets split apart into atomic ers noted, the behavior was es, television broadcasts, pieces for today’s digital strikingly similar across news Web sites and news consumption – headlines, geography and cultures. wire services the world 25-word summaries, stand- Perhaps it is no coinci- over. And based on the suc- alone photos, podcasts and dence that the four pieces cess of those established video clips – all of which of the news model identi- vehicles over the years, the can be easily e-mailed, fied by the anthropolo- four-box model might seem searched and shared be- gists align closely with the to suggest that there’s an yond the confines of their traditional definition of the easy fix to the problem of original packaging. news that journalists carry restoring lost context and The all-too-familiar result around in their heads. resolution in the digital is that newspapers, broad- Those four components news age: Just build it and casts and Web sites are be- have shaped some of the consumers will come. ing outpaced by the quicker iconic models of modern But clearly, based on the hits and easier access to journalism – the newspa- experience of the subjects news that is mostly unpack- per-of-record approach of in this study, it’s not that aged and aggregated by the The New York Times, for easy anymore. users themselves through example, promising “All the The critical difference in any number of digital news that’s fit to print.” today’s news environment means. To one degree or another, is that technology can undo A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 54
  • 55. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption From Containers to Entry Points T he visual model with the four boxes provided an initial trigger for think- for news. (Recalling a bit of elementary science, the spheres could be thought of The new ing through a response as four essential pieces, like model to the market challenges the geosphere, hydrosphere, Facts this consumer behavior atmosphere and biosphere presents. Where the anthro- of news. The spheres also pologists saw a map of the evoke the atomization of Updates news from the consumers’ the news in the digital perspective, it followed that space, where headlines, news providers might find a photos and video clips can path to creating new prod- be pulled from Web sites Back story ucts. and re-distributed through But a new brainstorm e-mail, search and sharing.) Future stories/ was needed, since the origi- Facts (!) and Updates (+) Spin-offs nal boxes seemed literally are the entry points that to suggest that packaging take up most of the current could solve the problem digital space, with the Back The “boxy” model seemed – that bigger, better pack- Story ( ) and the Future to indicate a solution was ages for the Back Story and Stories ( ) fighting for at- in packaging. The rede- Future Stories, for example, tention. How the audience signed AP model moves news into the new space – could attract more audience navigates these four points, a universe of stories made attention. across platform and brand, up of different spheres, To encompass the idea is nowhere near as straight- each ranging in size and that the world was differ- forward as opening up the scope – and consumers ent today, the journalistic old media containers, where interacting with the story minds at AP turned the one simply subscribed, from different entry points and platforms. stacked boxes into free-float- tuned in or logged on. ing spheres, or entry points, Based on the behavior ob- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 55
  • 56. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption served in the study group, a consumer might start his Editors as ‘information officers‘ or her day by opening an Editors must find ways to connect a story’s entry points for us- e-mail news headline pack- ers – providing them with more information than they could find age, then click on a head- by searching or scrolling. line and move to a story . But then what? What hap- Each story is made up pens later when the story of different develops? How do critical entry points. questions about the back story get answered? Where can the user go for a look ahead, or for spin-offs that are more personally rele- vant? These were all ques- tions to which the consum- ers in the study lacked clear Consumers will come … and news answers. to the news from a providers can create A key issue, demon- variety of perspectives links and pathways to strated in this study, is that and platforms … different points. consumers are accessing the entry points to news as much by chance as by to take through the news. appealing content for the design. Human editors at a Hypothetically, new value key entry points. Second, particular site can set paths can be created if news and more difficult, build from one story to another producers and distributors the connections that will and add links to other me- can figure out ways to help transport consumers to that dia coverage, buttons for consumers connect the dots content across both media sharing with a friend, etc. more coherently But where . platform and brand. As AP But that activity only cov- do you start? This study has discovered, that’s a job ers a small fraction of the confirmed the need to main- for both people and ma- many circuitous routes con- tain two parallel tracks of chines. sumers are now empowered work. First, create more A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 56
  • 57. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption AP’s Own Transformation T he AP emerged from this and other research with a renewed com- display in newspapers. The model even worked for new media as they came to eschew a scheduled date with packaged media. Add the capability of viral shar- mitment to new content along through the 20th cen- ing to the mix, facilitating development and digital tury AP created services . electronic word-of-mouth technology The new model, . based on newspaper stories interactions among con- splitting the news into its to supply news for radio, sumers, and the utility of fundamental atomic parts, television and eventually packaged media appears provides a conceptual the Internet and mobile increasingly limited. News- framework for that work, platforms. Even today, it paper stories, packaged as much as the old “inverted does not seem out of place a snapshot in time, struggle pyramid” once did for news to read “newspaper” stories to connect with an audi- writing. online. Indeed, the news ence that is being condi- Born of an earlier tech- Web sites of newspapers tioned to aggregate and nology revolution in news around the world are often manipulate unpackaged production that introduced seen as online editions with information on their own. high-speed presses, the in- better deadlines. For AP, these trends verted pyramid conditioned But as the study con- delivered a clear directive journalists to organize firms, the increasing to adjust the newspaper- the information in their movement of the audience story-first mentality A shift . stories from most impor- online is rapidly changing to fastest-formats-first had tant to least important to the environment. Consum- already been made at the beat the competition. That ers, like those in the study agency well before the con- model drove the journal- group, have grown up using sumer study That shift has . ism and the business of the digital tools and view the now accelerated with key AP news cooperative for old packaged news products new initiatives to enhance more than a century and a as much less efficient. The the differentiation of ser- half, as the news was pack- ability to search for news vices to match platform and aged day in and day out for and information makes it market needs. competitive, space-efficient even easier for consumers Chief among those initia- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 57
  • 58. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption tives is a fundamental new process for newsgathering in the field called “1-2-3 Fil- ing.” The name describes a new editorial workflow that requires first word of a text story to be delivered in a structured alert (headline format) to be followed by a short, present-tense story delivering the vital details in step 2. Then, in a final step, a story takes whatever form is appropriate for dif- ferent platforms and audi- ences – a longer form story The Top Stories Desk sets the direction on big stories – focusing on or analysis for print, for faster formats, then following with more depth. example. Other media types are coordinated along the way in similar fashion. said, “not what has hap- and updates, followed by As one of the editorial pened.” deeper dives for print as leaders instituting the new That subtle, but powerful, well as online, are designed process around the world, change is all-important to to answer those calls. In the Special International the digital audience, as the past, one story destined for Editor Deborah Seward has study group told the an- print moved through the described the shift as pro- thropologists. Those con- filing process, amassing de- found for both journalists sumers said they wanted to tail for new developments and consumers. A report see real updates, not dupli- into a structure built for built for constant deadlines cative stories presented as next-day newspaper read- is becoming even more updates, and they wanted ing. dynamic. “We’re reporting some coverage to go much The biggest stories of the what is happening,” she deeper. Present-tense alerts day get even more attention A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 58
  • 59. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption from a new “Top Stories ment projects have been new revenue opportunities Desk” at AP headquarters launched in entertainment, for news providers in the in New York. The editors on sports and financial news years ahead, as demand that desk are urged to con- to create more entry points grows in the digital mar- sider the big-picture signifi- for consumers with ap- ketplace for specialty and cance of a select number petites for broader, deeper premium content. of stories each day and to content in those categories. A fourth initiative from provide the perspective and In addition to the obvious AP aims to deliver news forward-looking thinking appeal of the subject mat- content, across category, to that can enhance their de- ter to young consumers, the a platform most likely to be velopment across all media big three news “verticals” in the hands of the young platforms. This attention also represent important target audience. to key stories also plays out A comprehensive mobile on a slightly smaller scale news service was launched at regional news desks in the United States in May situated in three locations 2008, aggregating the cover- outside the United States age of AP and its constitu- and, by the end of 2009, in ent member newspapers. four U.S. cities. The Mobile News Net- Taken together, these work – www.apnews.com changes in workflow di- – is optimized for the Apple rectly address the needs to iPhone and other “smart- both tighten and deepen the phones.” news report that consum- On a smaller, everyday ers, like those in the study, scale, AP has been actively can find as they surf and pursuing the creation of search for information. content with more “social A third major initiative at currency” for consumers. AP responds to the need for A special unit in the news- more variety in the news. AP’s Mobile News Network was room was created to launch Major new content develop- created for smartphones. many of these efforts in A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 59
  • 60. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption 2005 and the work has since story One AP interactive . been integrated into the created for the start of last Audience views: At daily routine. The unifying year’s hurricane season, selected news events, AP theme: Each piece of jour- for instance, allowed the has given cameras to by- nalism is designed to give user to move a slide along standers and/or partici- news consumers something the Saffir-Simpson scale pants, then asked them to worth discussing in inter- of storm severity, while take photographs of the actions with their friends, simultaneously displaying event from their perspec- acquaintances and co-work- an animated demonstration tives. This approach has ers. A few examples: of the damage that would been used for everything result from such a storm. from the music industry Ask AP: This regular feature unites newspaper readers and online news consumers with AP report- ers who are experts in their fields. Readers with news questions are given direct and personal answers from AP journalists. Interactive explainers: Interactive Web graphics take users more deeply into the news without requir- ing them to read a long text This interactive graphic showed how a hurricane’s destructive force increased with the storm’s intensity. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 60
  • 61. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption The Measure of a Nation series looks at the election through the prism of American culture. Grammys to an earthquake mix. The result garnered cans expect of the next anniversary in Mexico to more than half a million president. the family of a dead soldier hits after going viral and These initiatives at AP, meeting with President getting passed along from large and small, have Bush in the White House. the customer sites that dis- sprung from a concerted ef- played the piece. fort to think about the news Alternative story forms: A Measure of a Nation: For from an end-user’s per- key question for news plan- 2008, the AP has undertak- spective, re-emphasizing a ning today is “How can this en a yearlong multimedia dimension to news gather- story best be told?” Increas- project to look at the elec- ing and editing that can get ingly, the answer can be tions through the prism of lost in the relentless rush found outside traditional American culture, rather of the daily news cycle. The storytelling formats. In one than simply the candidates consumer study provided popular example in the 2006 and the horse race. This important validation for U.S. elections, an AP mul- involves identifying key that approach, as well as a timedia producer “mashed themes and exploring how continuing framework for up” excerpts from political they play out in the culture thinking about future in- attack ads with a musical and influence what Ameri- novation. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 61
  • 62. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Importance of Linking Mechanisms On their own, how- ever, new content initiatives cannot ensure a AP began moving to a da- tabase platform in 2003, as it became clear that media chived content on demand, opening up opportunity for the transactional sale of connection with the digital customers of the agency deep photo and video con- audience. The fragmented wanted more and better tent by topic or time period. and unstructured approach access to AP content than Visit www.apimages.com the study members took to the old system of one-way, and www.aparchive.com. their daily news consump- “wire” feeds could deliver. tion illustrates the chal- The agency had long relied The key to success with lenge. Distribution now on the feed model, deliver- the database model is to requires a new kind of con- ing news content by tele- make sure the content is nection with consumers. graph and phone lines and well-organized and search- This cannot be accom- later by satellite. The sys- able. The job requires plished on a large scale tem required customers to creation and implementa- without some new and catch the content and sort tion of a system for tagging sophisticated distribution through it on their end. content with digital coding mechanics, meaning an Once all forms of content that describes it in great infrastructure that smartly could be rendered to digi- detail. In the jargon of the connects the audience to tal formats, it opened the age, that means creating a available, relevant content way to a new model, where system for metadata – or in virtually unlimited content is maintained in data about the data. ways. At the core of such a database that enables AP began work in this an infrastructure are two customers to come and get area as part of its shift to concepts AP has strongly what they need when they the database. Now in place embraced – database access need it. By extension, the is a classification system to content and metadata database model also is mak- for subjects, or categories mark-up. ing it possible to access ar- of news, and a related sys- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 62
  • 63. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption tem for identifying entities, or famous people, places and things in the news. Also included as part of the metadata system are tags for originating sources (AP or a member newspaper contributor) and authors (writers), among other at- tributes. Most important, links to related content are created based on the inter- section of these attributes across the full range of the database. Effectively, the system makes it possible to surface and link all text, photos, graphics, audio and video that are related to each other. The impact is twofold: AP Images – on demand and in demand. Within the database, con- tent can be easily organized and searched. Once in use ultimate goal of making all that goal: standardization. online, the content carries parts of the news – break- Unless many – indeed, most the necessary digital coding ing news, background – news providers adopt a to automate its flow to the and spin-offs – linkable in standard set of digital tags, right entry point for con- cyberspace in ways that content will not be auto- sumers and to enable links would delight young digital matically linkable across from one piece of content consumers. both brand and platform. to another. Such a system But yet another big step As the digital consumers in takes a big step toward the is required to accomplish the behavioral study dem- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 63
  • 64. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption onstrated, the audience is operation, on a very large part of the shared infra- looking to be transported scale, would have to occur structure that supports the to relevant information no to ensure that outcome new Mobile News Network. matter its source. Where across the worldwide In- Long term, the shared tag- online consumers once ternet. For its part, AP is ging system could provide surfed and bookmarked offering to apply its meta- information to guide search news sites, users now data tags to the content of algorithms, widget technol- wonder why a logical trail its member newspapers in ogy and other digital infor- through the news can’t the United States, so that mation agents that power simply unfold, link by related news can be linked content discovery around link, across a multitude of across provider. In addition the Internet and mobile sources. to enabling such links, the space. Significant human co- metadata initiative is also A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 64
  • 65. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Unanswered Questions S till to come are the business models that will drive this new distribu- to award display to local ad sellers who offer the high- est rates of return for the has proven so definitively, a business built on clicks requires a network of tion system of entry points network. Ad revenue will massive numbers, not just and links. be aggregated and shared a single Web site. When For AP’s Mobile News among all the providers. information is available Network, national and local All the content and adver- any time, any place, as it advertising is being pur- tising is being presented will be for generations of sued to support display of outside the packaging of news consumers to come, headlines, stories, images the news companies’ own models must be constructed and video clips. Constituent Web sites in a format de- to connect huge numbers newspapers will contribute signed especially for smart- of people with personalized both news and local adver- phones. bits of information. Those tising to the network, and Such cooperative mod- models will require the one paper’s ad can support els may provide a way to aggregation of content, ad- the display of another create the scale that online vertising and audience on paper’s news, linked by and mobile businesses a very large scale – perhaps geographic coding and will require to generate not all in one place, but all other metadata. Business significant revenues. As connected. rules have been established Google’s advertising model A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 65
  • 66. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Case Study: The Telegraph O V E R V I E W N ew approaches to audience engage- ment can have real impact. facing declining circula- tion, a challenging advertis- ing environment and mass- the vanguard of the Euro- pean transformation. AP has had a window on The That’s the lesson to be scale audience migration to Telegraph’s work, as strate- learned from a brief case digital platforms. Changing gists for both companies study of The Telegraph, a demand has caused venera- have shared their insights leading news company in ble news institutions across with each other at various Britain that has taken the the continent to reconsider points over the past year. A shift in news consumption editorial and marketing brief summary of The Tele- patterns very seriously . strategies. graph’s ongoing work is Like their American Notable for its huge jump added here as a case study counterparts, most major in online traffic year over in how to put new models to European newspapers are year, The Telegraph is in work. The Telegraph’s Transformation The Telegraph, in print, many features of a compre- presented in an interactive remains a broadsheet. hensive news portal: up-to- and engaging way . Nonetheless, the company the-minute news, regular In a year’s time, the Tele- has embarked on a strategy updates, story background, graph has become the third that is transforming the and other archived content, most-visited national news- daily newspaper, read only video, cartoons, celebrity paper Web site in Britain once a day, to a round-the- news, etc. The Web site of- – 17 million unique users clock news outlet that read- fers readers multiple entry visited Telegraph.co.uk in ers check continuously . points for exploration of its March 2008, compared to Telegraph.co.uk has the broad selection of content, 7.2 million in March 2007, A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 66
  • 67. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption according to electronic audit bureau numbers. The paper attributed the sharp increase not only to the impact of the month’s news, but also to the tacti- cal moves it has taken to execute its strategy. What the Telegraph Does The Telegraph has built a multi-layered news pre- Smart links and multi-layered content give users of The Telegraph’s site sentation by cross-linking a choice to interact with content or move on to bigger subjects. current news stories with other relevant content as- entry points. the topic. sets – background, analysis, The breaking news This interactive, non-lin- video, etc. story link, which was ear presentation strategy By extending the user’s published on the front page drives the business model, time on its Web site, The leads to the actual story, as well as the journalistic Telegraph is able to display which is published in the model. As Edward Roussel, more targeted and contex- Earth section. Several Telegraph’s digital editor, tual advertising and con- links, embedded in the text, points out, success is being sequently generate more offer readers the option to measured against targets revenue. interact with the content or for visitor traffic and cor- As illustrated by the ran- explore the bigger topics of responding revenues. “We domly selected story, “Glob- Earth and ecology . want to make our content al warming may ‘stop,’ In addition to tradi- visible to the widest pos- scientists say” from April tional text and photos, the sible audience,” he said, 30, 2008, the Telegraph of- site offers video, produced summing up the goal at the fers its readers a variety of in-house, that is related to center of the strategy . A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 67
  • 68. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption How they Do It always assigned a supervi- ment. “Text, imagery and Ironically, the re-invented sory editor with commis- user-generated content,” Telegraph is following a sioning responsibilities, he said describing the new strategy not unlike that of who is accountable for the formula. “We tell the story a television news channel. overall coverage and pre- with that combination.” With the mindset of a sentation of the story . “The story-building pro- broadcast-news produc- High-impact news stories cess begins in a relentless tion center that has to feed are developed into micro- way as news breaks,” he dynamic demand for “new” Web sites, offering readers said. “First, alerts, then 150 news round-the clock, The a plethora of options to to 250 words within 15 min- Telegraph has replaced its explore related topics. The utes, invite user-generated newspaper process with a goal is to offer Web readers content and fold in multi- new approach that delivers a live and dynamic news media.” news sas events unfold. product. While the Telegraph re- Editorially, the Telegraph The commissioning- lies on Web 2.0 technology has a simple-to-manage editor function is central solutions, such as meta- news strategy: headline to the success of telegraph. data, tagging, cross-linking, first (via any available com- co.uk. The editor is contin- semantic searching, etc., munication method – SMS, uously charting the cover- there is still a lot of room e-mail, phone call), followed age, just like a live news for human editor interven- by a 150-word brief, and, producer, commissioning tion to vet the links and within an hour, a 450-word, editorial content from mul- make sure that the content multimedia story Follow- . tiple units, improving the package is relevant to the ing that, assigned editors presentation of the story news story itself. A rede- decide whether to com- on the Web page. sign of the site and its basic mission analyses, opinion User-generated content infrastructure will be insti- pieces, additional multime- (UGC) has become increas- tuted this year to introduce dia, etc. ingly important, Roussel enhanced content manage- As Roussel told AP, big said, and not simply to ment tools for editors and breaking news events are enhance audience engage- better navigation and UGC A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 68
  • 69. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption tools for users. organized by category, not Viral distribution oppor- As always in transforma- by “the means of distribu- tunities, beyond search tion, the biggest challenge tion,” he said, so that key engine optimization, are in to overcome is the rooted “content executives” can the early stages of experi- culture of an organization make decisions across the mentation. The site offers more than a century old. boundaries of media for- e-mail services, desktop The move to a new home mats. alerts and news on the go to (a former market trading For Roussel, there is still mobile devices. floor), with a new floor a lot work to be done. The plan for the newsroom, archives are only partially has eased the transition, digitized (about 10 years’ Roussel is nonethe- Roussel said. Moreover, the worth so far) and the site less confident that The news managers are now redesign is eagerly awaited. Telegraph is on the right A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 69
  • 70. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption track to be reborn as a it, as the paper morphs into erything will be published full-fledged digital news a more analytical, thought- to the Web,” he said, “and medium. As for the print provoking and in-depth the best of it will be in the edition? Roussel said there news product. newspaper.” would always be room for “In two to three years, ev- A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 70
  • 71. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption ACK NOWLEDGEMENTS We are deeply grateful to the Context-Based Research Group of Baltimore, Maryland, for transporting us to a new level of understanding of young-adult news consumers through anthropology. Our work with Context spanned two engagements in the past year – first, for our own strategic planning and second, for this report to the World Editors Forum. Managing Director and Principal Anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff and his team, news junkies themselves, were able to translate their cultural science into terms that resonated throughout our organization as we put the information to work. Thanks also to Tracy Pilar Johnson, research director for Context, for her many contributions to both rounds of this study and to analyst Shannon Gray and , Stephanie Simpson, director of strategy and client services. What you see in this document is a compilation of the ethnographic field re- search and several review and brainstorming sessions conducted over the past year with Context. We also have integrated other learning acquired along the way including several insightful discussions with our friends at The Telegraph, , particularly Edward Roussel, who is leading that media company’s digital trans- formation. We included a look at their work as a coda to our own. At AP many minds and hands have helped to craft the information in this , report and, more important, to put it to work in our own news operation and business. Thanks especially to Kathleen Carroll, executive editor; Andon Balta- kov deputy director of strategic planning; and Scott Johnson, art director; who , helped drive the thinking, writing and editing for this report. Scott gets credit for turning the graphic model into atomic spheres, which has provided a lasting im- age to focus on. A long list of others at AP also played a part in this project, including the News department’s Michael Oreskes, Ted Anthony, Eric Carvin, John Daniszewski, Debbie Seward, Amy Sancetta, Alicia Quarles, Niko Price, Dan Perry and Patrick McDowell. Contributing from the business side were Laurie Morris, Lisa Singha- nia, Hetti Haarklau, Maria Gillen, David Saabye and Ruthie Shek. Leslie Marable and Brenna Sniderman, former members of the AP strategy team, get the nod for connecting us with Context in the first place. Finally a thanks to CEO and Presi- , dent Tom Curley who believes in doing what needs to be done to get the com- , pany strategy right, even if it means hiring a team of anthropologists. Of course, our greatest thanks are reserved for the young subjects of this unusual study. Their unstructured paths through the news have helped us to re- think and restructure our own approach to serving them and others like them. – Jim Kennedy | Director of Strategic Planning | The Associated Press A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 71