Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Print better than online for retention: study

People who read newspapers "remember significantly more news stories than online news readers"; print readers "remembered significantly more topics than online newsreaders"; and print readers remembered "more main points of news stories," according to study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The paper, "Medium Matters: Newsreaders' Recall and Engagement With Online and Print Newspapers," by Arthur D. Santana, Randall Livingstone, and Yoon Cho of the University of Oregon.

Reporting on, "Press box" columnist Jack Shafer recounted his own unsuccessful attempt to go "print-free."

"What I really found myself missing was the news," Shafer writes. "Even though I spent ample time clicking through the Times website and the Reader, I quickly determined that I wasn't recalling as much of the newspaper as I should be."

"Online newspapers tend to give few cues about a story's importance," he continued, "and the 'agenda-setting function' of newspapers gets lost in the process. '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,' the [AEJMC] researchers write. The paper finds no evidence that the 'dynamic online story forms' (you know, multimedia stuff) have made stories more memorable."