February 9, 2017

How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News

Appendix: Key concepts

Respondents in study: Those who completed at least 10 of the 14 short surveys over the course of the week studied.

A news instance: Each two-hour window (asked about in a short survey) in which a respondent said that they got at least some news online.

Online news consumers: All respondents who said they got news in at least one mini-survey (i.e. had a news instance over the course of the week studied; 2,004 individuals). The results in this study are representative of online news consumers in a given week.

Main news topic: The subject area about which respondents got all or most of their news in a news instance. Respondents were first asked to indicate which of eight topics they got news on in the past two hours and then, if they indicated more than one topic, which one they got the most news on. The topics asked about are politics, community, sports, business, science and technology, entertainment, crime and health.

News pathway: The access point through which online news consumers got news in each news instance. Respondents were asked to indicate which of five pathway(s) led to the news on their main news topic. Respondents could indicate more than one. The five pathways asked about were: news organizations’ websites and apps; social media sites; search engines; news organizations’ emails, texts and alerts; and emails and texts from friends or family.

Follow-up action: Any action a respondent took after getting news on their main topic in each news instance. The actions asked about were: speaking with someone, whether in person or over the phone; sending an article to someone by email or text message; posting, sharing or commenting on an article on social media; commenting on a news organization’s webpage; searching for additional stories or information about the news gotten; or bookmarking or saving the news in some way.