2 June 2008

AP using ethnography to rethink news in the digital age

Be the first to share
Media
Business
Services
Social Issues

Rethinking news
Last year, Associated Press commissioned Baltimore-based Context-Based Research Group to conduct an ethnographic research study focusing on the news consumption habits of young digital consumers in six cities around the world.

The drive for this research came from the recognition that a significant shift in news consumption behaviour is taking place among younger generations.

The study’s main finding was that the subjects were overloaded with facts and updates and were having trouble moving more deeply into the background and resolution of news stories.

The report, which is presented today at the World Editors Forum in Goteborg, Sweden, structures the field study findings in a series of headings with short, one page descriptions:

  • News is connected to e-mail
  • Constant checking is linked to boredom
  • Contemporary lifestyles impact news consumption
  • Consumers want depth but aren’t getting it
  • News is multitasked
  • Consumers are experiencing news fatigue
  • Television impacts consumers expectations
  • Story resolution is key and sports and entertainment deliver
  • News takes work today but creates social currency

These research insights helped AP design a new model for news delivery to meet the needs of young adults, who are driving the shift from traditional media to digital news.

In essence, AP realised that how news is being consumed in the digital space by young people matches how they are improving their own newsgathering and project development, and that they can build on this workflow to develop new delivery models that match people needs.

“Chief among those initiatives is a fundamental new process for newsgathering in the field called “1-2-3 Filing.” The name describes a new editorial workflow that starts with a news alert headline for breaking news, followed by a short present-tense story that is usable on the Web and by broadcasters. The third step is to add details and format stories in ways most appropriate for various news platforms.”

This led to a new ‘Top Stories Desk‘ at AP headquarters in New York, where “the editors on that desk are urged to consider the big-picture significance of a select number of stories each day and to provide the perspective and forward-looking thinking that can enhance their development across all media platforms.

AP also launched major new content development projects in entertainment, sports and financial news to create more entry points for consumers with appetites for broader, deeper content in those categories, as well as a comprehensive mobile news service “to deliver news content, across category, to a platform most likely to be in the hands of the young target audience.”

Finally, AP has been actively pursuing the creation of content with more “social currency” for consumers through new services such as Ask AP, by adding interactive explainers and audience views, by conceiving alternative story forms, or by providing further context such as was done in the “Measure of a Nation”.

“These initiatives at AP, large and small, have sprung from a concerted effort to think about the news from an end-user’s perspective, re-emphasizing a dimension to news gathering and editing that can get lost in the relentless rush of the daily news cycle. The consumer study provided important validation for that approach, as well as a continuing framework for thinking about future innovation.”

Editors at the Telegraph in London are following a similar approach and have seen a big jump in traffic at the newspaper’s Web site. The study ends with a case study describing how the Telegraph has adopted the mind-set of a broadcast-news operation to quickly build from headlines to short stories to complete multimedia packages online to boost readership.

Read news article
Download report (pdf, 3.6 mb, 71 pages)

Be the first to share
5 April 2019
The story of Spotify personas
Spotify's product designer Mady Torres de Souza and senior user researchers Olga Hörding and Sohit Karol explain how they developed their personas tool, how they use it today and why it’s so useful for an …
4 April 2019
When ethnography becomes a joke
For a number of years, we have witnessed a diminishing appetite for ethnographic work among commercial clients, writes Patricia Sunderland, PhD and founder of Cultural Research and Analysis, on the site of the Qualitative Research …
4 April 2019
Old, online, and fed on lies: How an aging population will reshape the internet
Although many older Americans have, like the rest of us, embraced the tools and playthings of the technology industry, a growing body of research shows they have disproportionately fallen prey to the dangers of internet …
31 March 2019
Research findings send automated sentiment analysis to the trash bin
The age of social media has opened up exciting opportunities for researchers to investigate people’s emotional states on a massive scale. For example, one study found that tweets contain more positive emotional words in the …
9 March 2019
Innovation is about understanding culture
Jay Hasbrouck, Founder of Filament Insight & Innovation, argues that ethnographic thinking is an overall innovation strategy that can strategically guide large organisations in how they innovate, can drive their efforts to build innovation capacity, …
24 February 2019
Ten arguments against algorithmic decision making
Against the Dehumanisation of Decision-Making – Algorithmic Decisions at the Crossroads of Intellectual Property, Data Protection, and Freedom of Information by Dr Guido Noto La Diega, Senior Lecturer in Law at the Northumbria University Law School Published …
16 February 2019
[Book] The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West
The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West by Payal Arora Harvard University Press, 2019 280 pages A digital anthropologist examines the online lives of millions of people in China, India, Brazil, and across the Middle East—home to …
13 February 2019
Papers on behaviour, design and the circular economy
Consumer insights into the circular economy Report of stakeholder meeting, 25 October 2018, 14 pages The "Stakeholder Meeting: Consumer Insights into the Circular Economy" in Brussels on 25 October 2018, was co-organised by the Collaborating Centre on …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

2 May 2019
MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition now calling for applications

100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem. 100&Change will select a bold proposal that promises real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time. And it will award a $100 million grant to help make […]

19 March 2019
Interested in a career with us?

Then we are interested in hearing from you. We have several positions available for talented UX/UI and service designers who are passionate about creating world-class user experiences. Please see the job descriptions on our website for more information, and send us your CV with a cover letter statement about yourself, your experience, and what UX […]

22 December 2018
Our very best wishes for 2019! / Auguri da Experientia!
4 October 2018
Bringing​ ​patients into focus at the Roche Innovation Summit

Experientia is proud to have been a key participant at the Roche Innovation Summit, held at Roche headquarters in Basel Switzerland on 19 June 2018. Themed “​Transforming the Healthcare Experience Together​”, the summit aimed to galvanize the Roche community around the future transformation of healthcare and diagnostics. With 800 attendees from Roche and Genentech global […]

13 June 2018
Invito: DesAlps design thinking workshop per la tua startup

Hai una startup? Hai mai pensato ai benefici che potrebbe trarre dal Design Thinking? Questa è l’opportunità per scoprirlo! DesAlps Workshop #2: Il Design Thinking per la tua startup! Giovedì 28 giugno 2018 – dalle 9:30 alle 17:00 @ I3P | Corso Castelfidardo 30/a, Torino —– Nell’ambito del progetto europeo DesAlps, un team di esperti […]

3 May 2018
Invito: DesAlps innovation workshop per le PMI del territorio piemontese

Experientia è lieta di invitare le piccole e medie imprese del territorio piemontese al: DesAlps Workshop #1: Il Design Thinking per le PMI Venerdì 18 maggio 2018 – dalle 9.00 alle 17.30 @ Rinascimenti Sociali | via Maria Vittoria 38, Torino Scopri i vantaggi che il Design Thinking può portare al tuo business per prepararvi […]

See all articles