In recent years, the use of visualizations or infographics in the news has become increasingly
popular. We know, however, surprisingly little about how news consumers use and appreciate
news visualizations. We apply a mixed-method approach to answer these two questions. First,
we conduct an eye-tracking study that measures use, by means of direct attention to visualizations
on three different news platforms (print newspaper, e-newspaper on tablet, and news website).
Second, we conduct focus groups and a survey among readers of three news media to study the
extent to which news consumers actually value the inclusion of visualizations in the news. Our
results show that news consumers do indeed read news visualizations, regardless of the platform
on which the visual is published. We also find that visualizations are appreciated, but only if
they are coherently integrated into a news story and thus fulfill a function that can be easily understood.
With this study, we provide the first comprehensive picture of the usefulness of information
visualizations in the news, and contribute to a growing literature on alternative ways of storytelling
in journalism today.