How to take advantage of tablet computers: Effects of news structure on recall and comprehension

Anna Van Cauwenberge 1 , Leen d’Haenens 2  and Hans Beentjes 3
  • 1 University of Groningen, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies
  • 2 University of Leuven, Institute for Media Studies
  • 3 University of Amsterdam, Department of Communication Science


In light of the growing use of tablets for news reading and mobile news consumption behaviors, this study examined whether an innovative way of structuring news on the tablet that mimics mobile news behaviors reinforced attention for, and learning from, news. Specifically, it was theorized that the chronological and associative structuring of news articles into so-called developing news stories would lead to more attention for news, and better recall and comprehension of news, than the linear print newspaper structure that newspaper publishers continue to copy from print to tablet. A multiple-day experiment was set up using the eye-tracking method to measure and control for attention. The results show that the developing news structure increased comprehension of news substantively, independently of attention effects; no effects were found on attention and factual recall.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.