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Aug. 25, 2017, 10:10 a.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: www.oath.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   August 25, 2017

Oath (which, I’d forgive you for forgetting, is Verizon’s new digital division, post Yahoo/AOL merger, consisting of all these brands) is trying to look across its news sites to find patterns in user behavior. On Friday, it released an analysis of “comments generated within the flagship mobile app Newsroom iOS and Android, and across our biggest news platforms Yahoo.com and Yahoo News.”

The U.S. elections, Brexit, France’s landmark presidential election, and the unfortunate terrorist attacks over the past year prompted us to dig deeper into our news platform, to see how these events may have impacted our communities. This analysis was conducted through a review of over 100 million comments, of which 3 million were analyzed to define the top 10 trending U.S. hosted articles per month ranked by total comments.

The comments were analyzed by the commenters’ genders and generations, from “Elders” (born before 1940) to Gen Z’ers (born since 2001). Gen Z’ers, it seems, are reading different kinds of stories, at least based on how they comment (and Oath says it’s found that the number of comments has a high correlation to user engagement).

While Gen X is reading stories about Presidential news, Gen Z and Millennials are more inclined to read stories involving other politics (i.e. international conflict), crime, disaster and societal news. Notice the generational similarities among Elder and Baby Boomer, versus Gen X and Millennial. Gen Z is clearly unique and shows the highest diversity in topics discussed — less than 50 percent of are presidential, substituted with an increase in crime, society, and terrorism news topics. Discussions in presidential topics also decreases in each successive generation whereas discussions in crime and society topics increases.

As mentioned above, this time the team only looked at comments on the Newsroom app and on Yahoo and Yahoo News — not the places where most young people get news, which raises the question of whether they are commenting more on different topics, including politics, in other places. Oath said that “In future series, we will expand our research to the HuffPost audience, and more.”

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