If it catches my eye: an exploration of online news experiences of teenagers

18 Jan 2008

Teenagers aren't much into following serious news online, but news organizations can ? and should ? cultivate their interest by learning how to catch their eyes, diminish their angst, go where they are on the Web, enlist parents and teachers in the cause and help them develop a news persona, according to this report.

The report is based on a qualitative, in-depth study of 65 Chicago-area teens conducted in 2007 by Media Management Center. The purpose was to identify what drives online news consumption of teenagers. Researchers found that while serious news ? particularly news of politics, government and public affairs ? is not currently that important to most teens, they are "interestable." They will look at news online if it catches their eye ? with content that interests them, video, the right topics, humorous and weird news, and new things.

The report urged news organizations to make "catching the eye" of teenagers the core of a bold new strategy for attracting teens online; to "work over time to fan whatever sparks of interest they may have in news into a more robust flame of interest in various types of news," and to "make a special effort to encourage ? and even increase the number of ? teens who consider it part of their identity to follow and talk about the news."

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