Story-focused Reading in Online News and its Potential for User Engagement

Apr 1, 2016

We study the news reading behaviour of several hundred thousand users on 65 highlyvisited news sites. We focus on a specific phenomenon: users reading several articles related to a particular news development, which we call story-focused reading. Our goal is to understand the effect of story-focused reading on user engagement and how news sites can support this phenomenon. We found that most users focus on stories that interest them and that even casual news readers engage in story-focused reading. Duringcstory-focused reading, users spend more time reading and a larger number of news sitesc are involved. In addition, readers employ different strategies to find articles related to a story.

We also analyse how news sites promote story-focused reading, by looking at how they link their articles to related content published by them, or by other sources. The results show that providing links to related content leads to a higher engagement of the users, and that this is the case even for links to external sites. We also show that the performance of links can be affected by their type, their position, and how many of them are present within an article.

  • Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)
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