There's a fascinating study out today at the annual World Editors Forum in Sweden, commissioned by The Associated Press by Context-Based Research Group.
It's an ethnographic study, in that it looks for behaviours and desires below the surface of obvious patterns, and it studied a handful or two of young news consumers on for a deeper understanding of their needs.
Some of the findings some might find surprising:
- There is news fatigue, a real helplessness about information.
- Too many updates, too little resolution in the mix (with the exception of sports and entertainment, which tell stories with a beginning, middle and end and offer next steps).
- Depth is sought (updates do not equal insight).
- Understanding news is equated with social currency (thus, young people will deal with the fatigue to gain a higher understanding, if news organizations will organize data properly for them).
- The news diet is out of balance.
The study examined the consumption patterns and found news is often part of multitasked consumption, that young people check updates often out of boredom, and that news organizations aren't finding sophisticated ways to tap into the interest.
The study also shows two case studies at The AP (its report on the study here) and The Daily Telegraph on how they addressed these issues.