This survey experiment was 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 survey was conducted from March 8 through March 27, 2017. The survey was funded by API. Staff from API, NORC at the University of Chicago, and AP collaborated on all aspects of the study.

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).

Interviews for this survey 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, and 2,036 completed the survey via the web and phone. There were 1,702 completed interviews via the web and 334 via the phone. 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 the “news media” experimental group is +/- 4.2 percentage points while the margin of error for the “news media you use most often” experimental group is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

Respondents were offered a small monetary incentive ($2) for completing the survey. All interviews were conducted in English by professional interviewers, who were carefully trained on the specific survey for this study.

Once the sample was 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 over-sampling resulting from the study-specific sample design. Poststratification variables included age, gender, Census region, race/ethnicity, and education. 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:

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
Liz Kantor

From The Associated Press

Emily Swanson

About the Media Insight Project

The Media Insight Project is a collaboration of the American Press Institute 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.

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.

Share with your network

You also might be interested in:

  • The urgency to establish more Spanish-language newsrooms or those dedicated to serving Hispanic communities cannot be overstated. We do not only need more hyper local journalism projects like ours, but we need more transparency and clarity with the existing media organizations.

  • In 2023, 13 news organizations were part of a cohort assembled by the American Press Institute to track the diversity of people quoted in their […]

  • the benefits of source tracking apply across media types, across types of audiences and for both legacy and newer media. As news organizations work to grow and nurture relationships in their communities, many are focusing on ways to not only track their outreach but also build in the accountability necessary to improve.