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Episode 12: Stories that Matter to Millennials, with Flipboard

“They want to engage in the world.”

Sachin and Andrew discuss data presented by Flipboard’s Managing Editor, Gabriella Schwarz, who investigated how millennials consume and engage with news. Her hypothesis? Millennials care deeply about the news. (Spoiler alert: It’s true.) Plus: +1/-1 on algorithmic and editorial news curation.

Data that held our attention:

0:55 – Gabriella gives an overview of Flipboard’s audience and explains how her experience as a millennial motivated her to gather this data.

Gabriella: “I had a hypothesis that millennials care deeply about the news—that they’re information hungry, that they’re interested in the world around them—and that was really a belief I held, but I didn’t know if it was actually true.”

Gabriella: “I was surrounded by so many smart, bright, driven young people around me and didn’t think that the bad rap we got was really fair. And so I really wanted to take on this project to figure out what the truth was and then try to combat—hopefully, if the data proved it—combat that negative stigma.”

4:58 – The analysis of Flipboard data confirmed that millennials do in fact care about the news, with news, business, and technology leading the list of top most read topics by millennials. The differences between millennials and other generations surface in how they share, like, and comment on articles. Millennials read news but they share articles that speak to what’s happening in their lives.

Gabriella: “So while older generations on Flipboard are reading about news and business and technology, they’re actually sharing information. They’re sharing stories around those areas, whereas millennials are sharing different kinds of information. While they’re reading about news, [millennials are] actually sharing about what’s happening in their lives, whether that’s health or parenting or weddings or self-care.”

6:00 – Gabriella digs into topics most shared by millennials, stories that spiked among this demographic, and when they’re more inclined to read long-form stories. Based on this data, Flipboard works with their publishing partners to curate editorial packages around the topics that resonate most with millennial readers.

Gabriella: “Among the top shared were things like gaming and cryptocurrency and Game of Thrones—popular tv shows. They’re things in the news, but they’re things that really can easily foster a conversation, which I think is what they’re looking for. They’re looking to stay informed but they also want to engage in the world.”

10:50 – Sachin and Andrew connect Flipboard’s analysis to wider trends. The data recalls findings from a HuffPost study that found younger readers are more persistent in political news consumption and a Pew Research study that found that people do in fact read long-form articles on mobile.

16:05 – Gabriella speaks to the connection between the data and what’s happening in the lives of millennials.

Gabriella: “It shows that they’re really balancing work and life….that exists in our life and it also exists in what we’re reading.”

+1 or -1? Quick takes:

17:56 – Algorithmic curation for content and news.

21:41 – Reading editorially curated homepages.

23:09 – Labeling articles as hard news or opinion.

Show notes: