About the Media Insight Project
The Media Insight Project is undertaking a series of major studies on the habits of news consumers in the United States.

AP-NORC_JournalismGenPop_166x110.pngAmericans and the News Media: What they do — and don’t — understand about each other

Through twin surveys of both the public and journalists, this study from The Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center, finds that the erosion of Americans’ trust in their news media is related to a communication gap between journalists and the public about the newsgathering process. While the public doesn’t fully understand how journalists work, journalists actually underestimate the public’s knowledge about their craft.


APNORC_SubscriptionHero2_166x110.pngPaths to Subscription: Why Recent Subscribers Chose to Pay for News

This study from The Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center, surveyed recent newspaper subscribers to explore the paths consumers take to subscribing. It finds that a discount or promotional offer often triggers people to begin paying for the paper, but many also want access to local news, worry about the accuracy of free sources, or simply found the articles interesting.


AP-NORC_PARTISANSHIP_Hero_166x110.pngPartisanship and the Media: How Personal Politics Affect Where People Go, What They Trust, and Whether They Pay

The Media Insight Project investigates how Americans of different partisan stripes get news and their attitudes toward the news media. It finds that Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to pay for news, go to social media for news, get news multiple times day, and point to a local news source as their most commonly used news media. Independents provide a bigger contrast with lower levels of news engagement. A partisan divide appears in attitudes toward news, as Republicans express more dissatisfaction with the reliability and value of all types of news, even those they pay for and use most often.


“My” Media Versus “The” Media: Trust in News Depends on Which News Media You Mean

This Media Insight Project study explores Americans’ attitudes about news media generally compared to the news media they consume. It finds that, while Americans are skeptical of “the news media” in the abstract, they generally trust the news they themselves rely on. It also finds that most people mention traditional or mainstream news sources as the ones they turn to.


AP-NORC_PayForNews_166x110.jpgPaying for News: Why People Subscribe and What It Says About the Future of Journalism

This Media Insight Project study investigates who subscribes to news, what motivates them, and how they differ from those who don’t pay for news. It finds that more than half of Americans pay for news, and payers come from all age, education, income, and racial groups. The results show people are drawn to subscribe to news for three main reasons: a publication excels at covering a key topic, friends or family use it, and discounts or promotions. It also analyzes who doesn’t pay and why they do not pay to help identify opportunities to engage these non-paying news consumers.


AP-NORC_Ads_176x138.jpgThe Future of Digital Advertising: Designs for Mobile Screens May Be More Effective

This Media Insight Project study uses an experiment to explore which types of ads are most effective in a digital environment. It finds that advertising formats designed more recently, and with mobile in mind, can be less intrusive. Compared with ad formats designed for other web environments, they can also improve recall of the product being advertised and enhance trust in the article where the ad appears.


AP_SocialMedia_DE-ID_869x576.jpg'Who Shared It?': How Americans Decide What News to Trust on Social Media

This Media Insight Project study uses a survey-based experiment to investigate how trust in news on social media depends on who shares a story and the news outlet that reports it. It finds that trust is determined less by who creates the news story than by who shares it. Whether readers trust the sharer matters more than who produces the article — or even whether the article is produced by a real news organization or a fictional one.


A new Media Insight Project study shows that the reasons Americans trust and rely on news can be broken down into several specific factors. The study finds that in the digital age new factors such as the intrusiveness of ads and load times are critical in determining whether people consider the source worthy of trust. In addition, the factors that lead people to trust and rely on a news source vary by topic, and how much people value a specific component related to trust depends, for instance, on whether they are seeking news about politics or traffic.

Young adults have grown up amid abundant free online entertainment and news, and selling content to young people is a challenge. But this new Media Insight Project study of Millennials, those age 18 to 34, shows that a vast majority of young people use paid entertainment or news and paying for news is related to broader beliefs about the value of news. The basic findings of the report—Millennials do regularly use and often personally pay for news content—challenge the notion that Millennials believe everything on the web must be free.
Millennials, those age 18 to 34, differ from previous generations in how they consume news and information. However, this new Media Insight Project study of Millennials shows that there are also some important differences within this generation in the ways they encounter the world and follow news about it. 
As the news industry tries to understand the news habits of Millennials, who make up the first digital generation, one important question is whether changing technologies are extending or blurring differences between races and ethnic groups in how news is consumed. This new Media Insight Project study of Millennials and news shows that Hispanic and African American adults under age 35 are just as connected to the web as the rest of their generation, but they find news in somewhat different ways and they tend to follow a different mix of subjects.


Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined, according to a new study by the Media Insight Project. The data reveal that this generation tends not to consume news in discrete sessions or by going directly to news providers. Instead, news and information are woven into an often continuous but mindful way that Millennials connect to the world generally, which mixes news with social connection, problem solving, social action, and entertainment.

The Media Insight Project’s study examines African Americans’ and Hispanics’ personal news cycles. Using an innovative approach to assess news consumption, this study adds to a growing body of evidence that the digital divide has not materialized as expected.

The Personal News Cycle
Contrary to the idea that one generation tends to rely on print, another on television, and still another the web, the majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week. Where people go for news, moreover, depends significantly on the topic of the story—whether it is sports or science, politics or weather, health or arts—and on the nature of the story itself—whether it is a fast-moving event, a slower-moving trend, or an issue that the person follows passionately.