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Key findings
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Participants read deep into stories (including jump text) in print and online, although reading decreased as story length increased. Online participants read an average of 77 percent of story text they chose to read. This is substantially higher than the amount of story text participants read in broadsheets and tabloids. Broadsheet participants read an average of 62 percent of stories they selected. Tabloid participants read an average of 57 percent.

Why would people read more of a story online? Home pages prominently feature brief, up-to-the-minute breaking news reports, which we coded as stories. We wondered whether the shortness of these and other online stories could have been a factor.

However, when we looked at story lengths -- from 1 to 4 inches for the shortest stories to those 19 inches and longer -- we found that online readers still read more text regardless of the length.

We also measured whether a story was read from start to finish, and found 63 percent of story text chosen by online participants was read to completion. Reading in the two print formats was considerably lower. Forty percent of stories selected were read all the way through in broadsheets, 36 percent in tabloids.

On average, 68 percent of the continued or jumped story selected by a tabloid reader was read. In broadsheet, that number was 59 percent.


A participant in the EyeTrack07 project reads the St. Petersburg Times while wearing eyetracking glasses. (Photo by Jim Stem)


Phila. Daily News

Rocky Mountain News

St. Petersburg Times

Star Tribune

A note from
Dr. Mario Garcia

“We still have to be editors. I’ve read 80-inch stories that I could have read another 20 inches on. And I’ve read 10-inch stories that were too long. So it all depends on … how was it done? What’s the reporting? How’s the writing? Is it a topic that really engages and captivates?”

Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, an EyeTrack07 research partner.

“If you have a good story, they will read it, and they will go very deep into the story.”

John Temple, editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, an EyeTrack07 research partner.

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