The Changing Face of the News
Comparing Approaches to News Programming News Media

The Changing Face of the News

Comparing Approaches to News Programming

Comparing Approaches to News Programming

The days of Walter Cronkite after dinner and the morning paper over breakfast are long gone. Today’s news consumers ingest information about local and world events through countless outlets across an ever-shifting range of different media formats. But which formats are most effective in terms of both entertainment and knowledge sharing? We executed a study on two popular news approaches to explore this question.

In this case study, Latitude compared the traditional interview (i.e. an anchor asking questions of an expert)  with the modern approach of presenting news through well-produced, graphically-rich, and sharing-conducive informational videos. Specifically, we used Lumiere to evaluate a 9-minute BBC news interview segment and a 9-minute online explainer video, both of which covered the rise of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool ChatGPT. A sample of 225 news-watchers were recruited to watch the clips and provide feedback on the entertainment and informational value of these two types of media.

Key Lumiere Metrics

Lumiere Score

The average positivity-negativity rating (10-point scale) logged by viewers throughout each video.

Positive Sentiment

Percentage of positive comments, as determined by AI sentiment analysis of comments submitted throughout each video.

Interest Generated

self-reported interest in the topic in general (AI) and in using Chat GPT specifically after watching the segment (5-pt scale).

Information Comprehension

Percentage of correct responses to multiple-choice questions regarding information conveyed in each segment.

Overall rating

Star rating (1-5 stars) of enjoyment of the overall experience watching each segment.

Now on to the breaking news - here are the results of our traditional newscast vs. explainer video case study:

Engaging with the Story

News organizations build readership/viewership by getting the audience engaged in their stories. That’s what keeps them coming back for more. So how did these two approaches compare in this respect? The explainer video tested better in both of the items designed to explore the level of interest in the topic of AI. Viewers rated their interest in the general subject higher (3.7 vs. 2.9) and also reported a higher likelihood of trying ChatGPT out for themselves (3.4 vs. 2.6). In this respect, the explainer video was more effective than the on-set interview in stimulating personal engagement with the content.

Learning about the Topic

Whatever other purposes news serves in the world today, building the audience’s knowledge is surely still a key component of success. The study looked at a few key pieces of information that were conveyed by both segments to determine if there was a difference in how each video functioned as a learning medium. In this respect, the traditional approach and explainer video performed at parity, with 67% of viewers answering the five comprehension questions correctly in both segments. Whether viewers were exposed to the traditional approach or the explainer video, they comprehended relevant information with the same approximate accuracy. 

Enjoying the Experience

For most television news viewers, the entertainment value of the broadcast is an important consideration. We explored this component of audience perception directly and indirectly in this study, with results suggesting that the explainer video performed better than the on-set interview. Sentiment analysis performed by Lumiere’s AI language processing tool found that only 32% of viewer comments about the BBC News clip were positive, compared with 52% of comments about the Explainer video. This difference was also supported by comparison of the respective Lumiere scores (6.5 vs. 5.7) and the overall rating of the viewer’s experience captured at the end of the video (4.3 vs. 4.1). 

“The News” is always changing,

and you can bet that it will continue to do so as technology and audiences evolve. The data presented here illustrate how research into the efficacy of different types of informational programming can provide producers with important insight into their viewers. Our results suggest that the kinds of explainer videos popularized by new media organizations such as Vox have a distinct advantage in engaging viewers with content that they enjoy watching, while still performing adequately in terms of generating public knowledge. Of course, a trusted anchor behind the desk has a great deal of value in maintaining viewership, but studies like this highlight how important it is for news organizations to find innovative, engaging ways to convey what’s happening in the world to the people who inhabit it.

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