Story-focused reading in online news and its potential for user engagement

Janette Lehmann, Carlos Castillo, Mounia Lalmas, Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


We study the news reading behavior of several hundred thousand users on 65 highly visited 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. During story-focused reading, users spend more time reading and a larger number of news sites are involved. In addition, readers employ different strategies to find articles related to a story. We also analyze 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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems

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