Study: Readers Retain More Information From Print than Online; Cat Dancing to 'Thriller' Disputes Claim

Slate's Jack Shafer renewed his subscription to the New York Times print edition when he realized he "wasn't recalling as much of the newspaper" when he read it online. His realization was backed up by an academic study that found readers of print news "remember significantly more news stories than online news readers...[remember] significantly more topics than online newsreaders...[and remember] more main points of news stories." The reasoning presented in the study (which can be read here online, but you won't retain it) is interesting and as someone who creates content for online readers, we think it is worth examining.

Points will be made by quotes pulled directly from the study, "Newsreaders' Recall and Engagement with Online and Print Newspaper." Counterpoints will be made by a YouTube video of a cat dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Study: "Unlike print news, online news is ephemeral; it can appear and disappear without warning, thus creating an element of distraction."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

Study: "Part of why online readers tend to scan stories while print readers tend to be more methodical might be explained by research that found newspapers offer news stories with more depth and breadth than online stories."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

Study: "Online news outlets were more opinionated; about 2.6% of leading online news was labeled as analysis while 1.1% of front-page print stories were labeled as such."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

Study: "Online news stories, which are sometimes interrupted with an online ad in the middle of the text, are more apt to appear or be available on several pages of a newspaper's Web site under different headings; the scattershot nature of the online news story coupled with its fleeting nature make the online news consumer's experience quite different than that of a print reader."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

Study: "Online readers are apt to acquire less information about national, international and political events than print newsreaders because of the lack of salience cues; they generally are not being told what to read via story placement and prominence -- an enduring feature of the print product."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

Study: "One of the most interesting findings of this research demonstrates how users are not inclined to engage multimedia tools on online newspaper Web sites. Most readers favored the text of a story, and subsequent engagement with multimedia tools such as blogs and photo galleries dramatically dropped off."

Video of cat dancing to "Thriller" that can only be found on the Internet:

What a thrilling debate! Now, what was it over?

Print vs. Online: The ways in which old-fashioned newspapers still trump online newspapers [Slate]

[@nickgreene]


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >