Posted June 3, 2008 2:12 pm by with 11 comments

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In a global world we have easy access to news that happens anywhere in the world within minutes or hours. I’ve noticed more people my age (in their 30s) say they simply don’t watch the news. Rather than a constant reminder of problems that are so large and remote that it overwhelms them, they tune it out. Or, like me, I get most of it from Yahoo news or from blogs.

What about the younger crowd, how do they view the news? The World Editors Forum recently took place in Sweden and cultural anthropologists looked into this question. The Associated Press (AP) and Context-Based Research, an ethnographic research firm based in Baltimore, presented on their study about how young adults around the world read news (PDF).

Young adults aged 18 to 34 participated in the study. They were from Britain, India and the United States. People in the study said they are overloaded with facts and updates and wanted higher quality and in-depth reporting (what, don’t they read blogs! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

“As anthropologists we immerse ourselves in a culture and are able to see what people do versus what they say they do,” said Dr. Robbie Blinkoff, co-founder and principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group. “Our observations and analysis identified that consumers’ news diets are out of balance due to the over-consumption of facts and headlines. In an effort to lead them to more ‘nourishing’ in-depth stories we provided AP with a framework for content delivery innovation.”

Here’s some other findings:

  • The group wanted more depth when they read the news online.
  • They are often multitasking rather than giving reading or listening to the news their full attention. They often skimmed the news headlines (which seems to contradict the complaint they the news isn’t more in-depth).
  • Many get their news by email.
  • It’s important for them to know what is going on – knowing what is happening in the news is a form of social currency.

In response, the AP is changing the way they deliver news and linking “news content across platform and brand” so it’s easier to find relevant news. This is notable since “on any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.”

  • Interesting stuff. I wonder how many of them really want more depth, and how many of them really mean, “we want more news that shares our bias.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • jim

    As someone in that group, I agree. It’s not so much that I want more political news or economic news or whatever, I want more depth in current events. With the millions of bloggers out there, it’s amazing how “close” you can get to current events as they unfold because people who are geographically close are writing about them.

    jim’s last blog post..Usefulness & Utility Trump Asset Value

  • PS3

    I spend all day and too many evenings on the internet but I certainly get all of my news here. My preference is to settle down away from everything and read a newspaper.

    Then again, I am not in my 30’s any more.

  • I’m not yet 20 and I get all the news off the internet. I don’t spend much time watching TV as online I am able to get everything I want on demand. There is no set time for the news as it is constantly updating all day.

    This is probably not a good thing though as althought I’ll hear the news story quicker I’ll waste more time checking back to the site for more news!

    I also read blogs like this regularly. I really don’t miss the TV!


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  • Interesting indeed! Your comment regarding them not reading blogs is spot on in my opinion, however the
    ADD generation seems to need constant visual stimulus to keep them enthralled.

  • This article is so right…The older generation prefer to enjoy their newspaper in the coffee times. No matter it takes almost 24 hours to read the news.

  • I am 22. Does this make me a youngster? I think news is the only thing I still watch on TV. The reason why I don’t read blogs is because quite frankly I simply don’t trust the source of information half the time.

    seo guy’s last blog post..Should I experiment with online money lending?

  • Unfortunately I have no time to read news in newspaper or watching news on TV. I get all news from Internet in work pauses or from my mobile phone. In my country internet news is more objective then TV or newspaper’s news. It sad…

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  • I’m 27 and I suppose that means I’m on the line between the Y Generation and the X Generation, but it’s true that I am absolutely immune to traditional advertising. I fast forward through commercials, don’t listen to radio, rarely read magazines and ignore ads when I do, and don’t think I’ve ever clicked on an online banner ad. The Obama Campaign tapped into the Millennial/Y Generation, though, and in turn they def helped push him over the edge. If youโ€™re marketing to that age range then there are ABSOLUTELY some lessons to be learned from his campaign…

    Andrew’s last blog post..Marketing to Millennials: A Lesson Learned from the Obama Campaign