Study: Teens like Headlines and Photos -- But Not 'Dumbed Down' News

By: E&P Staff A new study indicates that teenagers don't like their news watered-down, but rather encourages online news providers to "be bolder" with their Web sites.

"[W]hat teens say they want are news sites that do news well, not dumb it down or pose as experts in teen culture," Michael Smith, director of the Media Management Center at Northwestern University, who conducted the study, said in a statement.

"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."

Smith conducted the study for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and will present the study at the eighth annual World Young Reader Conference, which is organized by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN) and will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, September 27-30.

The survey presented Web site prototypes to a focus group made up of 96 teens in 12 focus groups in six U.S. cities: Denver; Philadelphia; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Springfield, Ill.; Fresno, Calif.; and Orangeburg S.C.

Key recommendations of the study included: Focus a Web site's home page on a few key stories, consider cutting page length, eliminate clutter -- "all one-line links and little icons tucked here or there," as the survey put it -- make one major story clearly bigger and more visual, and start running photos and summaries with every major news story on the home page.

"The results offer useful lessons for newspapers worldwide, especially as
we?ve seen such international parallels in behaviour and preferences in
other youth media research." Aralynn McMane, Director of Young
Readership Development at WAN-IFRA said in a statement.

To read the full report, go to:


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