March 26, 2014

State of the News Media Methodologies

The State of the News Media report uses a host of different methodologies from data aggregation to original survey work to content analysis to first-person interviews. The wealth of methods helps provide the clearest sense of what is occurring around each research question. The detailed methodologies for the chapters included in this year’s State of the News Media are below. The methodologies are also attached to the report itself.

State of the News Media 2014 Key Indicators in Media & News

The data for the State of the News Media 2014 Key Findings in Media & News consists of data originally generated by other people or organizations that the Pew Research Center then collected and aggregated.

For the data aggregated from other researchers, the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project took several steps. First, we tried to determine what data had been collected and by whom for the media sectors studied. In many cases, this included securing rights to data through license fees or other means, and often including paying for use of the data.

Next, we studied the data closely to determine where elements reinforced each other and where there were apparent contradictions or gaps. In doing so, the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project endeavored to determine the value and validity of each data set. That, in many cases, involved going back to the sources that collected the research in the first place. Where data conflicted, we have included all relevant sources and tried to explain their differences, either in footnotes or in the narratives.

All sources are cited in footnotes or within the narrative.

The Revenue Picture for American Journalism, And How it is Changing

The job of piecing together the dollars currently supporting U.S. journalism is a complicated one. The revenues analyzed in this report include earned revenue from advertising (both legacy and digital), audience payments, smaller streams like events, marketing services and content licensing or syndication, as well as financial support from philanthropic organizations, individuals and private capital.  More difficult to account for are capital investments from companies, many of them technology firms, into original newsgathering under their own roof.  Researchers collected solid revenue information where available and sought out estimates when necessary, although in some cases even estimates were not offered by these companies. For many segments, the latest available year-end data come from 2012. Where possible we have included year-end 2013 figures.

The sources of data include research firms, trade associations and news organizations themselves. Some media sectors, particularly legacy and institutional ones such as newspapers and cable TV, offer more detailed data going many years back. In other sectors, like print magazines and local TV, long-standing accounting practices make it difficult to separate out news revenues from broader corporate figures, but we have done our best to do so here. And the arena of news reporting native to the digital space—whose contours continue to evolve—offers little in the way of tidy economic data, especially within digital companies where journalism is but one part of a broader content portfolio. Data from these sources often came via publicly available third-party estimates and self-reported figures found in published news reports.  Not included in this accounting are digital technology firms like Google and Facebook that have become deeply entwined in the distribution of news, but do not produce their own original, professional reporting. And given this report’s focus on the general news audience, custom information platforms and the specialty subscription publications such as Bloomberg or Crain’s were not studied here.

Past editions of the State of the News Media included deep analysis of how individual media sectors fund their operations. All of that data are still available in our Media & News Indicators database.

News Video on the Web: A Growing, If Uncertain, Part of News

The methodology for this report can be found here

The Growth in Digital Reporting: What it Means for Journalism and News Consumers

The data Pew Research used to track the shifting job market in news came from several sources. The staffing data for the 30 larger native digital organizations came primarily from interviews—conducted both via phone and email—with representatives of 28 of the 30 organizations. The staffing information for the remaining two outlets came from media accounts. The staffing data from the universe of smaller sites was derived by merging five lists totaling more than 500 digital news organizations. That figure that was whittled down to 438 when duplicate outlets and sites that were not applicable or about which little data could be found were discarded. The staff numbers for the individual sites came from survey results, information collected by those compiling the lists and staffing levels listed on outlet websites. The job numbers from legacy media outlets came from data compiled by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Ad Age, the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University and Pew Research data.


A Boom in Acquisitions and Content Sharing Shapes Local TV News in 2013

Pew Research used a number of sources and data in order to analyze the local TV news landscape. Data on acquisitions and local TV ownership came from BIA Kelsey Media Access Pro database; data on news producing stations, local TV staffing numbers and the amount of news came from the annual Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University surveys of local TV news directors; data on the number of joint service agreements derived from Danilo Yanich research at the University of Delaware. The local TV company data came from media accounts and individual company press releases and websites. Furthermore, the author conducted a number of interviews with media experts.


8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and News

This slideshow presents new data from a Pew Research Center phone survey (Feb. 27-March 2, 2014) and also includes data from the following reports produced by the Pew Research Center in 20114 in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:


The timeline of Hispanic-news outlets includes local newspapers and local television stations within the top-ten Hispanic metro regions the ten largest metropolitan areas by Hispanic population as identified by Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project  and national television outlets and online-only publications that launched since 2000. The metro areas include: Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.; New York-Northeastern N.J.; Houston-Brazoria, Texas; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo, Calif. and San Antonio, Texas. To create a list of publications within these areas, researchers consulted Advertising Age’s 2013 annual report, CisionPoint (a software service with extensive media lists) and independent web research.  A similar process was used to find outlets that serve a national audience. Next, researchers conducted an audit of these outlets from October 2013-February 2014.


  • Year Launched: Researchers determined the year of launch by searching the ‘about’ section of an outlet’s website, supplemented by interviews with staffers and additional web searches.
  • Outlet Type: Researchers distinguished between local and national outlets and newspapers, television stations or online-only outlets.
  • Ownership: Researchers determined what company or person owned each outlet and then determined whether the company was tied to a general market media company, defined as a company that also owns an outlet that is geared to the U.S. population as a whole, not just Hispanic Americans. Or if the company is primarily focused on targeting Hispanic audiences.
  • Language: Researchers counted the number of Spanish and English language stories on the websites’ homepages. Then, by analyzing the ratio of Spanish to English stories, researchers determined if the site was predominately in English or Spanish. Researchers also looked for dual language options on the sites studied. In order to research the language variable, outlets must have a functioning website.

Local television stations in which researchers were unable to confirm if original local news was a part of its programming were not included here. Azteca América was not included in the timeline because it is owned wholly by a Mexican broadcaster. Outlets that focused on a specific niche were excluded. There were four outlets that researchers were unable to determine a launch date: La Prensa Los Angeles, New York Daily News Latino, Ultima Nota and La Prensa Hispana and therefore were not included.

Media & News Indicators Database

This was consists largely of data originally generated by other people or organizations that the Pew Research Center then collected and aggregated. The data was then put into a chart format and the charts were organized by topic. The database can be viewed here.