Research we do

Three professors, including Fellow Dr. Pamela E. Walck, are conducting research into Allegheny County residents' views of local, national and international news professionals. The study takes a two-prong approach. It starts with an online survey to randomly selected neighborhoods in the county. The professors will follow the survey with interviews of 20 focus groups to explore how citizens view local news organizations and their journalistic ethics, how those perceptions influence audience trust in media, and how audiences define news and information.

In conjunction with the Institute, three media department faculty members, including Institute Fellow Dr. Pamela E. Walck, are conducting a first-of-its-kind study titled "Trust in Local News Media: How Consumers Value News and Journalism Ethics." Through a county-wide survey and focus group discussions, this multi-faceted project examines the views of Allegheny County residents regarding local, national and international news sources.

Driving this research project is the idea that while the public's need for accurate information has never been greater, it comes at a time when trust in news media has steadily deteriorated both locally and nationally.

Questions include the following: How do local media habits influence audience perceptions? How do citizens define "news" and "information" and are these concepts the same thing? And how do those personal definitions influence the way individuals view media?

The survey launched in June 2022 with focus groups scheduled for fall 2022.

Research we promote and support

The Institute sponsors annual awards to the top undergraduate and graduate research symposium paper that tackles a current issue in local or national journalism ethics. The winning entry should identify and elaborate on an ethical issue in journalism today, create an avenue for discourse about journalism ethics and offer possible solutions.