The Media Insight Project

The Media Insight Project is a collaboration of the American Press Institute (API) and The AP‑NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with the objective of conducting high‑quality, innovative research meant to inform the news industry and the public about various important issues facing journalism and the news business.

The Media Insight Project brings together the expertise of both organizations and their respective partners, and involves collaborations among key staff at API, NORC at the University of Chicago, and The Associated Press.

Its studies are directed and funded primarily by API and are designed and conducted in partnership between the organizations.

The individual authors, researchers and contributors for each study are cited in the studies’ methodology sections.

About The American Press Institute
The American Press Institute (API) advances an innovative and sustainable local news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public‑service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. API is a national 501©3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. It works with and draws on the best ideas from technology, business, and publishing. Read more here

About The Associated Press‑NORC Center For Public Affairs Research
The AP‑NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest‑quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the world.

The Associated Press (AP) is the world’s essential news organization, bringing fast, unbiased news to all media platforms and formats.

NORC at the University of Chicago is one of the oldest and most respected, independent research institutions in the world.

The two organizations have established The AP‑NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.

The founding principles of The AP‑NORC Center include a mandate to preserve carefully and protect the scientific integrity and objectivity of NORC and the journalistic independence of AP. All work conducted by the Center conforms to the highest levels of scientific integrity to prevent any real or perceived bias in the research. All of the work of the Center is subject to review by its advisory committee to help ensure it meets these standards. The Center will publicize the results of all studies and make all datasets and study documentation available to scholars and the public.

Print Fans subscribe because they love relaxing with a paper

The Print Fans often like the “experience” of a printed newspaper. In their open-ended descriptions, they talk about sitting with the paper and having their coffee in the morning, discovering stories and spending time reading them. They also choose to subscribe because of the convenience of print home delivery, or because they have had a […]

‘Friends and Family’ subscribers need news to support relationships with people

The Friends and Family group subscribed because they found the publication through their loved ones and, in some cases, saw it as a way to connect with them through the news. The paper, in other words, is part of the social flow of their lives. The publication may have been something that they grew up […]

Appendix 1: Respondents’ demographics and news behaviors

The set of respondents to this study include newspaper subscribers from 47 states plus the District of Columbia. Most of these subscribers live in suburban areas (55 percent), while 28 percent live in urban areas and 17 percent live in rural areas. The subscribers interviewed skew older than the general population—65 percent are age 60 […]

Appendix 2: Analytical Definitions of Paths

Digital Paywall Converters There are 857 Digital Paywall Converters. The path is defined by two elements: 1) Have a digital or bundled subscription; and either 2) A trigger factor is hitting the article limit, or a top benefit is an unlimited number of digital stories, or in their own words they say they subscribed due […]

How different types of recent subscribers vary

This survey of more than 4,100 recent newspaper was large enough to break down some differences within the population: Medium of preference: How digital subscribers differ from print subscribers Age: How younger subscribers compare to older subscribers Market size: How new subscribers in small towns and big cities are different Political views: What drives Republicans […]

Paths to subscription: Nine common journeys from reader to subscriber

When you step back and look at all the things that lead people to subscribe to a newspaper—the background factors, the specific triggers, the lifestyle conditions, and the publication characteristics—patterns emerge. The survey asked an array of questions to get at all of this. Those multiple questions can make the results seem complicated because there […]

What drives Republicans or Democrats to subscribe to local news

In 2017, a Media Insight Project study used two surveys to evaluate similarities and differences between Republicans and Democrats in their news consumption behavior and their attitudes towards the media. It found that while the two parties differed sharply in their opinions and beliefs about the media, they were strikingly alike in their news behaviors. […]

How subscriber motivations vary in big and small markets

The survey featured new subscribers from 90 newspapers, which ranged from small papers to some of the largest papers in the country. This wide array of newspapers allows for an examination of whether the paths to subscription vary depending on the circulation size of a newspaper, as circulation size is often related to both news […]

Younger subscribers: What the future of paying for local news looks like

For several decades now, newspapers have fretted about their aging audience and the challenge of reaching younger readers. There are promising signs that young people are open to paying for news. Our earlier study of Millennial audiences (age 18 to 34 at the time), found that 40 percent pay for news content. How do younger subscribers […]

Paths to Subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news

This research was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research   Funding for the news industry is going through an epochal change, the implications of which cannot be overstated. In the future, virtually all signals suggest less of the […]