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About the study

Survey methodology

The data used in this report were drawn from two independent surveys conducted by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute (API) and The Associated Press‑NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first survey, Paying for News: Why People Subscribe and What It Says About the Future of Journalism, was conducted from February 16 through March 20, 2017. The second survey, “My” Media Versus “The” Media: Trust in News Depends on Which News Media You Mean, was conducted from March 8 through March 27, 2017. Both surveys were funded by API. Staff from API and The AP-NORC Center collaborated on all aspects of the studies.

Data were collected using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, which is NORC’s probability‑based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. During the initial recruitment phase of the panel, randomly selected U.S. households were sampled with a known, nonzero probability of selection from the NORC National Sample Frame and then contacted by U.S. mail, email, telephone, and field interviewers (face‑to‑face). The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Those excluded from the sample include people with P.O. Box only addresses, some addresses not listed in the USPS Delivery Sequence File, and some newly constructed dwellings.

Interviews for these surveys were conducted with adults age 18 and over representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Panel members were randomly drawn from the AmeriSpeak Panel.

In the paying for news study…

  • 2,199 panelists completed the survey—1,885 via the web and 314 via telephone. The sample includes 1,194 who pay for a news subscription and 1,005 who do not pay for any news. The final stage completion rate is 31.2 percent, the weighted household panel response rate is 34.4 percent, and the weighted household panel retention rate is 94.7 percent, for a cumulative response rate of 10.2 percent.
  • The overall margin of sampling error is +/‑ 2.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level, including the design effect. The margin of sampling error may be higher for subgroups.

In the study of how people evaluate the media they use versus the media overall half of respondents were asked questions about “the news media” and the other half were asked the same questions about “the news media you use most often.” With this study…

  • 2,036 panelists completed the survey—1,702 via the web and 334 via telephone. The final stage completion rate is 35.6 percent, the weighted household panel response rate is 34.4 percent, and the weighted household panel retention rate is 94.7 percent, for a cumulative response rate of 11.6 percent.
  • The overall margin of sampling error is +/‑ 3.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level, including the design effect. The margin of sampling error for experimental Condition A (“the news media” is +/- 4.2 percentage points. The margin of sampling error for experimental Condition B (“the news media you use”) is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

Respondents were offered a small monetary incentive for completing these surveys. All interviews were conducted in English by professional interviewers who were carefully trained on the specific survey for this study.

Once the samples were selected and fielded, and all the study data had been collected and made final, a poststratification process was used to adjust for any survey nonresponse as well as any noncoverage or under‑and oversampling resulting from the study‑specific sample design. Poststratification variables included age, gender, Census division, race/ethnicity, and household phone status. The weighted data, which reflect the U.S. population of adults age 18 and over, were used for all analyses.

Details about the Media Insight Project can be found at: www.mediainsight.org.

Contributing researchers

From the American Press Institute

Tom Rosenstiel
Jeff Sonderman
Kevin Loker

From NORC at the University of Chicago

Jennifer Benz
David Sterrett
Dan Malato
Trevor Tompson
Amanda Lenhart
Liz Kantor
Alexander Agadjanian

From The Associated Press

Emily Swanson

About 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.

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute (API) conducts research and training, convenes thought leaders, and creates tools to help chart a path ahead for journalism in the 21st century. API is an educational nonadvocacy 501(c)3 nonprofit organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. It aims to help the news media—especially local publishers and newspaper media—advance in the digital age.

 

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