Associated Press New Model


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Associated Press New Model

  1. 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 TM
  2. 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 © 2008 The Associated Press All rights reserved. May be downloaded for personal use only. TM
  3. 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. 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 TM
  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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’ how they would represent themselves, focusing on what was important to story over a full news cycle, making note visually and textually of when, how and lives, particularly their them, their likes/dislikes, why they searched for and behaviors, values, news values and philosophies, as accessed updates on the sources and news consump- well as who and what made story. tion habits, all the partici- up their social networks. pants in the study received Moving more directly The exercise, followed by a Send-Ahead Behavioral into the news realm, par- a home visit from a Con- Journaling Exercise en- ticipants also represented text anthropologist, was titled “My News.” To com- what they considered to intended to prompt par- plete the journal, partici- be news, how they defined ticipants to begin thinking pants received a Polaroid newsworthiness, the in- about their news consump- camera and set of instruc- fluence of platform and tion behaviors, motivations tions on taking pictures of channel on their personal and habits, as well as their their daily lives over the definitions of news, their perceptions of what consti- course of three to five days. preferred means for access- tutes the news. The images ing the news and how and and the description pro- Participants completed when they themselves dis- vided by the participants the behavioral journal seminated, or shared, news. yielded rich data about who by addressing a series of Finally, participants were they were and the role that questions both visually asked to choose a story news consumption was and textually The jour- . that they would typically playing in their lives. nal began by asking them follow and then track this A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 10
  11. 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 while internationally based varied and different envi- long they accessed news participants completed the ronments they visit in their sources; what news chan- assignment by taking pic- daily lives, Context had par- nels they typically utilized; tures to accompany their ticipants complete a mobile their level of engagements news diary using Polaroid blog and news diary For . with different channels, cameras. U.S. participants this structured assignment, platforms and devices; and uploaded their pictures participants were asked to the impact this news had to a secure Web site at the capture moments of news on them, including how end of each day, providing consumption behavior, in they decided whether to contextual details on the real time, over the course further disseminate a piece behavior they captured, us- of one weekday and one of news. By including a ing their news diary pages weekend day, from start to diary of news collection to ensure that they included finish. pages, participants were all the details. able to textually document For the international Context anthropologists these news consumption participants, the Context directed all participants to moments and motivations anthropologist brought this take pictures that captured as well. exercise to life during the how they search for or Participants in the United in-home, in-depth inter- consumed news during the States were provided with view. A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 11
  12. 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. 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. 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 felt . LANKA for news to relax. Reading A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 14
  15. 15. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption about entertainment and sociated Press. film news was an indul- Raj mostly accessed the gence that she enjoyed. “Film news relaxes me. I love to read about gossip in Internet via his personal computer. Before graduat- ing, he had Internet access V ijay, a 26-year-old man, was an owner of an interior design store, which the film industry .” at college and he would he ran from his home, check news at school as located in a fairly wealthy well. Television was not area in the heart of Hydera- 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 bad. Tech- nologically, Vijay was degree and for news. To Raj, know- 26 well “wired,” Raj was enrolled ing the news was a social with cable Store 22 already in a skill because it helped him owner television and Master’s m aster’s of communicate and raise his continuous student s cience pro- social standing. access to the gram in the To hone his communica- Internet. United States. tion skills, Raj charted the Vijay came from a large Raj browsed the Internet development of news on family with a fairly tradi- for news to improve his a whiteboard. In fact, he tional upbringing. He felt communications skills chose a news topic, wrote it connected to these roots and keep himself ahead out on a whiteboard in his but was also intrigued by of his friends. Raj said room and then practiced the changes he saw occur- he normally checked the presenting it to others, ei- ring around him as a result news eight to 10 times a day ther alone or before friends. of globalization. He relied when he was busy and up By working on the way he on being up to date on the to 20 times a day w h e n he communicated news, Raj news as a way of keeping had more free time. Raj’s believed he could not only up with his friends and his preferred sites were NDTV impress others, but also wider social network. and Yahoo. He was also overcome Indian socio-cul- Vijay began the day by very familiar with The As- tural barriers. reading the newspaper A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 15
  16. 16. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption and watching television story that he was following sources was quite interest- with his morning coffee. because it was important ing. One of the first sites It was at this time that he for his social circle. he went to for news was the was most engaged with the Vijay was mostly inter- television news channel news. This was the time ested in global business NDTV an authoritative and , that Vijay used to prepare and political news. Dur- well-respected news chan- himself for his day – en- ing the time of this study nel. In particular, he en- gaging with the top news he was actively following joyed the show “The World stories and social events several stories pertaining This Week,” which NDTV before meeting clients and to car and bike companies has been broadcasting for friends alike. Aside from that had begun investing in the last two decades. His the morning hours, Vijay India. The impact this new secondary source was Ee- would return to the televi- business could potentially andu, a well-regarded local sion or Internet during have on the Indian econo- newspaper, written in the the lunch hour and before my was important to him local language of Telegu. going to sleep to check on as he had some investments His online sources included information regarding the in the Indian stock market. NDTV .com and stock market or a news His choice of news A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 16
  17. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 . watching it on TV when she work. She the content of the story was at home. and said that once determineed whether she 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 busy . 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,, 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 homepage. She went tered around the hours of YouTube to get videos to 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 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 appealed 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. 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 had 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. 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 0 200 mi Gulf of on something else, not just 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- did their rounds. Keeping world around me.” ferent between when she up on the news at work was Hannah worked at a hos- was at work and when she a 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. 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 ( 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. 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 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 had just graduated just browse; rather, she was also worke d overnight from high school and still usually looking up some most nights at two different 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 he field study, recently moved did a news story impact or was at one of 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 came on married. to know what areas to at 8 a.m. they switched 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. 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 helped five to seven days a week. too busy for news. How- him 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 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. 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 0 100 km would listen to drive-time 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- help 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 lo- the family had an Inter- she had the opportunity cal stories. Susan believed net connection. However, to listen to the radio, but 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. 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 associated 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. 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. 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. 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 time at home, but most of Pacific 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. 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 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 Frank said Frank was proactive in on when a story got more A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 33
  34. 34. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption attention than it deserved. quite engaged with local husband might take. When a story could not go happenings, comment- Sally paid attention to anywhere else, he stopped ing on some stories, and headlines in the newspaper paying attention to it. In maintained and online and used them the case of Paris Hilton an 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 listened 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 to that could be gathered in During the evening surfing the Web on her iP- a short time. Sally liked to observed during the study, hone. Besides checking her stay current with the news Sally returned home from e-mail, she went to Digg, because it helped her make work and immediately because she wanted to get judgments and decisions. turned on the television information about a pos- For example, during this to the local news. She was sible vacation she and her study Sally was interested A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 34
  35. 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. 36. A New Model for News Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption Changing Consumption: Conclusions and Recommendations Today’s Model If the ultimate goal from ethnographic research and anthropological analy- The illustration on page 37 was drawn by the Con- text team to capture the fold,” to use a print news expression, consuming mostly headlines and up- sis is to uncover the deep news consumption behav- dates. Meanwhile, “below- roots of the culture under ior and needs observed the-fold” content captured investigation, you might in this study group. The much less attention. consider the structure observations suggested an The fold also can be seen that emerges from such an imbalance in the compo- as a dividing line between inquiry as an experience or nents that make up what news that was consumed behavioral model. might be called the “whole mostly passively (facts and With an understanding story” behind a particular updates encountered from of the culture’s roots, it piece or body of news. Par- e-mail, portals or word becomes possible to map ticipants in the study were of mouth) versus deeper those roots to people’s receiving and accessing dives that required more actual and prospective an imbalance of headlines active consumption, or real behaviors and the products and updates in their daily “work,” as the subjects and services people use or routines, versus deeper themselves described it. might use. In this fashion, background, labeled in the People in the study were a behavioral model can pro- illustration as the back able to articulate the imbal- vide a company or industry story and future stories and ance of their news diet as – the news business in this spin-offs. The study showed a problem. They spoke of case – with a framework for people spending the major- having trouble keeping up innovation. ity of their time “above the or finding resolution in the A Research Report from The Associated Press and the Context-Based Research Group 36