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Poynter Institute Unveils EyeTrack07 Results in New Book

Oct 02, 2007 (12:10 PM EDT)
URL: http://www.techweb.com/show-press-release/X644213/poynter-institute-unveils-eyetrack07-results-in-new-book.html

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Documenting the results of its landmark, two-year study of news reading habits, The Poynter Institute has published "Eyetracking the News: A Study of Print and Online Reading." Written by Poynter faculty, Dr. Pegie Stark Adam and Sara Quinn, and Poynter researcher Rick Edmonds, "Eyetracking the News" takes readers through the project from beginning to end, from interviewing and observing 605 participants in four U.S. cities, to analyzing and interpreting data and explaining how publishers, editors and designers might apply findings in their own newsrooms.

"EyeTrack07 -- Poynter's largest research project to date -- comes at a time when the media industry needs it most. Never before have we seen such change," says Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap, President of the Institute. "We hope findings from this important study will ensure journalists are better informed as they confront the issues presented by an industry regrouping for the Digital Age."

"Journalists make a lot of assumptions about how people read what is published in newspapers and online," says Quinn, who directed the research project. "In crafting EyeTrack07, we set out to test the assumptions and to provide a scientific look at the questions we ask so often: How much do people read? How do they navigate through the paper or Web site? How do people view headlines, photos, teasers, briefs and ads?"

Chapters covered in "Eyetracking the News" include those related to reading depth, patterns and sequences; story packaging; photographs and graphics; advertising; and online click-throughs. The book also features the project's study of prototype materials, from which conclusions about recall are drawn, and a chapter on the information gleaned from exit interviews completed by test subjects. Key findings are summarized in an overview provided in the book's Introduction.

"Among our key findings is that participants read deeply into stories," says Adam, who co-authored "Eyes on the News" in 1990, which documented Poynter's first eyetracking study. "We also found that headlines and photos are the first visual stop for print readers and that large photos drew more attention than small or staged photos. As designers, we've long believed that alternative story forms-fact boxes, timelines or Q&As-help readers to remember information. EyeTrack07 proves that to be true."

To conduct EyeTrack07 research, a team led by Quinn and Adam traveled with specialized eyetracking equipment to three newsrooms: the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune and the Philadelphia Daily News. Sessions with St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times readers were held at Poynter. Participants-men and women between the ages of 18 and 60-were asked to read the paper or Web site as they normally would while a pair of goggles outfitted with small cameras recorded "points of gaze." The reading sessions yielded more than 102,000 "eye stops," an extraordinarily large data set. Researchers and students from the University of Florida collaborated with Mediamark Research, Inc. to analyze the data.

"Eyetracking the News" features 157 pages, photos and quotes from study participants and newspaper partners, 40 explanatory charts and graphs, and a foreword by renowned newspaper designer and co-author of "Eyes on the News," Dr. Mario Garcia. He writes, "There has never been a more exciting, challenging and demanding time than now for the media to learn from the EyeTrack studies and find practical applications."

"Eyetracking the News: A Study of Print and Online Reading" is available for purchase at $59.95, including shipping in the U.S. For more information or to order, please visit www.poynter.org/eyetrackingthenews .

Founded in 1975 in St. Petersburg, Florida, The Poynter Institute is one of the nation's top schools for professional journalists, future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter offers training throughout the year in the areas of online and multimedia, leadership and management, reporting, writing and editing, TV and radio, ethics and diversity, journalism education and visual journalism. For more information, please visit www.poynter.org .

EYETRACKING THE NEWS: A Study of Print and Online Reading By Dr. Pegie Stark Adam, Sara Quinn and Rick Edmonds ISBN 13: 978-0-9798685-0-4 Paperback; $59.95; 157 pages Publication date: August 31, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Sandler, Marketing Manager, or Julie Moos, PublicationsEditor, +1-727-821-9494, both of The Poynter Institute

Web site: http://www.poynter.org/ http://www.poynter.org/eyetrackingthenews/