Tummino #NTNM Assignment 1

The technology I am interested in using for a field test is the Autographer. I have chosen the Autographer because the way it takes shots candidly is an interesting concept to me. In reading reviews about the device, I found one which praised the device for its ability to capture real moments in “the age of Instagram selfies.” This really jogged by brain to the fact that many photos taken nowadays are staged and manipulated to the liking of the photographer. However, the Autographer (as its name implies) uses internal sensors to take photos that it feels are important — taking the human decision-making process out of the equation.

The test I would like to conduct involves using the Autographer to measure engagement with TV and online news. I would put the Autographer on someone and sit them down to watch a 30-minute newscast on television, and then I would have them look at online news for a half an hour. The Autographer would take photos of what the person is looking at; hence, if the person is engaged with the news, the pictures will show that the person is looking at what is on-screen, be it a TV or computer screen. If the person is not engaged with the news, the photos will not be of the screens but rather other parts of the room, the person checking his or her cell phone, etc.

The test is inspired by the Eyetrack test done by the Poynter Institute which helped show how readers look at print and online content. The results of that test have served as a case study among print and online media outlets and shaped the manner in which they showcase and present their content to their respective audiences. I think the results of my Autographer field test can achieve a similar effect, especially for the broadcast journalism industry. I have been told many times over the course of my Newhouse education that viewers are not always engaged with the news, and I think this study can be used to see whether that is the case, and to what extent viewers are or are not engaged. Based on the findings, the broadcast and online journalism fields can possibly see what needs to be done in order to connect more with the audiences they are trying to reach.

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