Internet Surveys and the Associated Press (AP)
Is it true that the Associated Press refuses to carry stories from online surveys? Yes, as odd as that seems nowadays. But news media face a difficult problem given how easy it is to conduct biased public opinion polling, especially now with online panels and social networks. So some news organizations like the Associated Press (AP), The New York Times, and ABC News have developed guidelines that specify for a survey or public opinion poll to be valid and reliable, it must be conducted by telephone.
It is worth understanding their rationale even if you do not pitch research stories to the media because the guidelines provide a fascinating glimpse into current methodological debates about probability sampling, inferential statistics, and the rapidly changing world of online data collection and analysis. If your organization does use research for public relations and marketing, then a deeper understanding will help you offer recommendations to your organization about conducting PR research.
In our Fall 2011 Newsletter, we outline media guidelines for reporting on survey research. Whether your goal is getting research into the board room to influence top decision makers, or in front of the public to promote your brand, you need to know the standards of rigor against which the research will be judged.
Our commitment at Versta is to advise you on the best research mode for your campaign strategy, and to conduct rigorous research that can withstand the highest levels of scrutiny.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.