Sara Quinn and Pegie Stark Adam from the Poynter Institute rolled out findings from Poynter’s latest EyeTrack07 study. You can find the book here (early review: it’s good reading and it’s very well designed) and the major findings of the report are here.
I got a preview of the research back in the spring along with about 40 others as part of a test-drive session that Sara and Pegie organized. The research is impressive. It’s meticulous and exhaustive.
The headline that’s going to come out of it has to do with how much readers are actually reading.
But the much, much, MUCH more important news, I think, is their analysis of different story forms. In short, readers comprehend more from an alternative form than in a similar narrative.
Does that mean we should all be writing in chunky text? No. But what it does mean is that there are stories and subjects where the traditional pyramid structure is inferior.
For people fighting the good fight in newsrooms, it’s real, quantifiable data to back up something that we as visual journalists have been arguing for years.