29 April 2009

Research on how teenagers use news sites

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Teens Know
The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Foundation has published a report on a study on how teenagers use news sites.

“The NAA Foundation and the Media Management Center at Northwestern University have teamed up to explore and put to the test better ways to match the online news preferences of teens.

We developed prototypes of home pages and story-level pages, then tested them in focus groups across the United States. Teens’ responses were remarkably and overwhelmingly consistent, regardless of market size or location.

We found that there are better ways to serve teens with online news. The answer isn’t to dilute the news, but to be bolder.

This doesn’t mean that news organizations should necessarily create sites just for teens. The term “youth news Web site” conjures up visions of a site heavy with lifestyle and entertainment content, with a little news on the side. But what these teens said they want are news sites that do news well, not dumb it down or pose as experts in teen culture.

Given that teen responses were very similar to those of adults who are light readers, we recommend creating a new type of site – not just for teens, but for all people who lack experience with news and have a limited amount of time to get engaged with it.”

Executive summary
Full report
Presentation at the NAA Annual Convention in April 2009

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