News Fatigue Hits Young Adults

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Generation Text may not be tuning out the media due to lack of interest as is widely believed, but rather due to the overconsumption of news and information on new platforms, a study suggests.

"A New Model for News: Studying the Deep Structure of Young-Adult News Consumption" was released today by The Associated Press and ethnographic research firm Context-Based Research Group.

From AP's own reporting on the survey, unveiled at the World Editors Forum news media conference in Sweden:

A key finding was that participants yearned for quality and in-depth reporting but had difficulty immediately accessing such content because they were bombarded by facts and updates in headlines and snippets of news.

The study also found that participants were unable to give full attention to the news because they were almost always simultaneously engaged in other activities, such as reading e-mail. That represents a shift from previous consumption models in which people sat down to watch the evening news or read the morning paper.

"Our observations and analysis identified that consumers' news diets are out of balance due to the over-consumption of facts and headlines," said Robbie Blinkoff, co-founder and head anthropologist at Baltimore, Md.-based Context-Based Research Group.

The study's authors advise news outlets to dial down the hype and repetition and make in-depth content easier to find if they want to keep younger viewers and readers (ages 18-34 in the survey) around.

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