Modes of Enagement with News and their Relationship to Information Gain in Text

Published on April 18, 2018.

How do people engage with news articles post-click? How does the development of ideas within the text of articles affect post-click engagement? To address these questions I analyzed a large, client-side log data of over 7.7 million page views of 66,821 news articles from seven popular news publishers. Using simple transformations of dwell time, scrolling depth, and the amount of page interaction reveals six prototypical modes of reading that range from scanning to extensive reading and persist across sites. Furthermore, I developed a new measure of information gain that captures the development of ideas within the text of news articles, and examined its relationship to post-click user engagement. I fount that the new measure captures unique information not available otherwise, and that the new measure is particularly useful for predicting, prior to publication, the fraction of people who would engage in reading a news article.

See the publications page for the full paper and code accompanying it.

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