Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

News audiences

We believe the future of journalism must involve news organizations better understanding the needs and behaviors of their audiences. To that end, we conduct innovative research into how Americans get news.

Below you will find other recent insights we have curated about how to reach and serve news audiences.

How much Republicans and Democrats trust ‘their’ media

Support for the watchdog One area where public confidence in the media has not eroded over the years is the watchdog role of the press. The Pew Research Center, for several years, has asked the following: “Some people think that by criticizing leaders, news organizations keep political leaders from doing their job. Others think that […]

Older generations are more trusting of news media

If politics causes a divide in trust, so does age. In general, regardless of party identification, younger adults are less likely to trust the news media than older adults. But here again (though not on every metric), those numbers change if people are asked about the media they use most often. There is not such […]

Blurring lines between opinion and news content explains some loss of trust in the media

One possible explanation for an overall decline in trust is that parts of the media, especially TV, have blurred the distinction between opinion and straight news reporting. If some people dislike certain commentators, or tire of pundits’ speculations, that may drag down their opinion of otherwise trustworthy news reporting. The survey probed the degree to […]

‘My’ media versus ‘the’ media: Trust in news depends on which news media you mean

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 For years, studies have shown Americans’ trust in the news media is steadily declining. In recent months, the rise of so-called fake news and the rhetoric of President Donald […]

People have more trust in ‘my’ media than ‘the’ media

Previous conceptions of trust in media Researchers have found trust in media declining for several years now, though they don’t all agree on when the trend started. The Gallup research organization, which has been asking about media trust in general since 1972, found it hit a high-water mark in 1976, three years after the Watergate […]

Who pays for news in general and why

Despite an increasing number of free news options available, a majority of adults pay for a news source of some sort. Again, 53 percent of adults report they either pay for a newspaper, magazine, news app, or news site, or donate money to public radio, public television, or a nonprofit news organization. And 65 percent […]

Newspaper subscribers vs. other types of subscribers

Within the universe of people who pay for news, the survey identifies those who subscribe to newspapers and those who do not. In all, 54 percent of people who pay for news subscribe to a newspaper, and there are a number of differences between newspaper subscribers and subscribers of other news sources.1 Newspaper subscribers tend […]

Who does not pay for news

Slightly less than half of Americans in the survey say they do not pay for news from a newspaper, magazine, news app, news site, or donation to nonprofit journalism. Nonetheless, many of those who do not pay for these sources still follow a great deal of news, just less than subscribers do. For instance, many […]

“Seekers” vs. “Bumpers” and a potential target for news organizations

In research that the Media Insight Project produced in 2015, we innovated a concept that we think has become an important one in trying to understand the future of news. We asked people whether, on balance, they were more likely to actively seek out news or whether they were more likely to bump into it […]

Print vs. digital subscribers: Demographic differences and paths to subscription

Overall, 58 percent of subscribers describe themselves as primarily print-oriented, and 28 percent say they are primarily digital. Among just newspaper subscribers, even more (75 percent) describe themselves as print-oriented. But these numbers look very different when we break people down by demographic groups. Among those who pay, Hispanics are particularly likely to use primarily […]

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