My Topics

31 January 2019

Getting Youth Hooked On News By Using Storytelling?

Many news professionals assume that narrative news – that is, news presented as a story with events placed in chronological order – can inform and attract younger news consumers. A study in Journalism Studies tests this assumption among people of different ages and compares the effects of narrative news with the effects of more conventional news. Results show that people are better informed by narrative news, but that they like this news less.

Take aways

  • News users - young and old - are more likely to learn current events knowledge from narrative news.
  • The narrative news structure is best in informing all audiences, but it is not necessarily a viable strategy to attract younger news audiences because they do not prefer this news structure over conventional news.

Study information

  • Who?

    190 participants (55% female) in three age groups (age ranges: 18-34; 35-55; 55+) and varying levels of education (low, medium, high)

  • Where?

    The Netherlands

  • How?

    Participants read either four online news articles written in a narrative structure (chronological presentation of events) or four stories in an inverted pyramid structure (reporting the most important information first). After each story, participants indicated how much they appreciated the story. At the end, they completed an online survey to test their memory of the four articles.

Facts and findings

  • Participants from all ages recognized more important aspects of the narrative news than of the inverted pyramid news reports.
  • However, participants also liked the narrative news less than the inverted pyramid news.
  • Millennials (18-34 years old) appreciated all news reports less than the older generations, regardless of whether the news had a narrative or inverted pyramid structure.