(Summarized by Bill Densmore )
An academic researcher’s detailed inquiry of the media habits and desires of 16-to-30-year-old news consumers finds relevancy and customizability are the most important things youth news consumers want.
Dr. Edgar Huang’s research involved extremely detailed surveys of a total of 28 high-school and college students. Huang is in the School of Informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Entitled: “The Causes of Youths’ Low News Consumption and Strategies for Making Youths Happy News Consumers,” the study was published in the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, (Vol. 15, No. 1, 105-122, c. 2009, Sage Publications).
— Only 7% of the same gets their news from print newspapers. Overwhelmingly, the are getting it from the web and television.
— Nine-out-of-10 of the students had a broadband internet connection at home and they found news almost exclusively via their desktop or lap — NOT with their phone or PDA.
— Only 1 out of the 28 students uses RSS feeds to find news.
— Wrote Dr. Huang: “For these youth who have grown in the digital era, accessing news online is becoming their native culture.”
When asked to propose solutions to how they should interact with news, Huang wrote that: “The two major solutions the respondents proposed were relevancy and customizability.”
The Indiana researcher said they wanted three kinds of relevancy — they wanted relevant news that had an effect on their lives, they wanted news that was relevant to their time-starved lives — great headlines and stories short and to the point; and they wanted “media relevancy.”
Media relevancy was defined by Dr. Huang’s the respondents as “news delivered in a media format they are comfortable with — easy to navigate, interactive, searchable, filterable, containing graphics and videos, and providing much more information than newspapers for optional in-depth reading, hading for those who were near a computer often, enabling viewing from various digital devices and allowing time shifting.”
Eight of the 28 study respondents said that online users “should be allowed to customize their preferences for news so that the news they liked to see could be fed to them either on a customizable news website or social networking sites . . . so that they did not have to spend time searching for such news. However, they would like to be able to scan all the to stories to see if anything else would interest them.”
ONE RESPONDENT’S VISION FOR CUSTOMIZABILITY
One of the respondents specifically envisioned that “a news website will learn and calculate how many times I hit on specific news. The web site will remember my interests in news and then rearrange the front page with the kind of news that I enjoyed whenever I visit the site.”
Said a second respondent to the 28-student survey by Dr. Edgar Huang of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis: “I would like a personalized website that had all the news that I feel is relevant to me.”
Edgar Huang, Ph.D., MFA
Associate Professor, School of Informatics
Adjunct Professor, School of Journalism
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
535 W. Michigan Street, Suite IT 481
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3103
Phone: (317) 278-4108
Fax: (317) 278-7669