The news media’s transition to digital has brought major upheaval to the industry. And just as American news organizations have drastically reevaluated their business models, researchers who are trying to measure the U.S. public’s news consumption also need to reexamine the traditional ways they have done so.

In the mid-twentieth century, when media research came into its own, this task was more straightforward. There were only a few different ways to get news, and all were clearly distinct. But over the past decades, in addition to a plethora of new forms of news, many news outlets no longer stay confined to producing content on only one platform. 

Given the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of the news landscape, Pew Research Center wanted to explore how best to measure news consumption. Where do currently used survey practices still work, and where might changes be in order?