Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Mobile news consumers likely to be less informed citizens, study suggests

Sepang, MALAYSIA:  A man reads a text message on his mobile phone while an aircraft taxis amid thick haze at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, 16 October 2006. Smog from Indonesia's land-clearing fires have moved inland to Malaysia's Pahang state and has led to poor visibility at major airports in the country, officials said. AFP PHOTO/TENGKU BAHAR  (Photo credit should read TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images)
TENGKU BAHAR/AFP/Getty Images
A man reads a text message on his mobile phone. Researchers found that smartphone users spent the least amount of time looking at articles and paying attention to additional links.

Using eye-tracking software to measure how people consume news stories on different devices - computers, tablets, and smartphones -, researchers found smartphone users spent the least amount of time looking at articles and paying attention to additional links.

Using eye-tracking software to measure how people consume news stories on different devices - computers, tablets, and smartphones -, researchers found smartphone users spent the least amount of time looking at articles and paying attention to additional links.

Johanna Dunaway of Texas A&M University explains, "Eye-tracking measures attention and cognitive processes; humans are not good at self-reporting where they direct attention. So this allowed us to have a simple measure of how much time people spent looking at the body of the story." Dunaway says the findings suggest citizens who rely on mobile news alone will be less informed and less engaged citizens. Read more about her paper at the site of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

News outlets care a great deal about how people consume news and in what "spaces." Gabriel Kahn, professor in the journalism school at USC, says news executives are having to pay more attention to where news engagement is taking place. "That's why we see, for instance, more news videos on Facebook complete with the text of the story in subtitles." The caution is that Silicon Valley innovators are driving the future of journalism, without any allegiance to it.

Does this track with how you consume news? How could content or technology be changed to account for this risk of a “second-class digital” citizenry?

Guests: 

Johanna Dunaway,  Associate Professor of Communication, Texas A&M University; Study author,  “Mobile vs. Computer: Implications for News Audiences and Outlets

Gabriel Kahn, Professor of Professional Practice of Journalism, University of Southern California; Co-director of the Media, Economics, and Entrepreneurship program, USC

Stay Connected