Journalism in the Public Interest

Results of ProPublica’s 2011 Reader Survey

The results of our latest survey of ProPublica readers are in, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about… well, you.


The results of our latest survey of ProPublica readers are in, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about... well, you.

Before we do, a big "thank you" to the 2,583 of you who took the time to respond. The results aren't scientific, but the large sample does likely indicate that they're meaningful.

There's lots of evidence in the survey that the habits of our audience are changing in ways becoming very familiar in the news business. Your primary source of national news is online (68 percent said that, compared to 60 percent in our previous survey in May 2010, and 53 percent in December 2008). Print newspapers, meanwhile, continue to decline as your primary source of national news, to 13 percent this year, from 19 percent last year and 25 percent in 2008. (TV also dropped.) You're a social group: 74 percent regularly use Facebook, 38 percent Twitter, 37 percent Google+ and 34 percent LinkedIn.

And there are lots of different ways you find your way to ProPublica content. The most common way is via our daily email alert (if you're not already signed up, click here), but 22 percent come primarily directly through our website, 10 percent from our Twitter feed, 8 percent through our iPhone, iPad or Android apps, and 5 percent primarily through Facebook. Use of our RSS feeds remains significant as well.

We're most pleased that you seem to like the content wherever you find it: 90 percent approve of the length of our stories, and 79 percent of their frequency. (And 19 percent wish we published more, which certainly beats 2 percent who favor less.) Moreover, the judgment on length of stories is steady compared with 2010 and 2008, while the proportion of readers seeking more stories has grown from 13 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2010 to 2011's 19 percent. Our longer features and investigations remain our most regularly read content, with engagement with our long-form stories growing from 79 percent in 2008 to 81 percent in 2010 to 86 percent in 2011. A bit over half of readers continue to look regularly at our shorter pieces and MuckReads selections of investigative journalism by others.

Nearly half of you (49 percent) consider ProPublica non-ideological -- a conclusion we were pleased to see shared by a Pew study earlier this year -- with the rest almost evenly split between moderate (25 percent) and liberal (also 25 percent). Your own views remain solidly liberal (63 percent), with moderate (21 percent) and non-ideological (13 percent) trailing that.

Demographically, you are -- not uncommonly for an online news audience-- more male (62 percent) than female (38 percent). While each of us individually has aged since our last survey, collectively you seem to be getting somewhat younger. The proportion of readers under 35, for instance, grew from 11 percent last year to 15 percent in 2011. You remain a very well educated group: 82 percent have graduated from college, 46 percent have a post-graduate degree. You're not exactly the 1 percent, but you're better off than most. Median household income is just below $75,000, while median household net worth is between $100-500,000, with 28 percent having a net worth above that range.

Barry Schmittou

Dec. 16, 2011, 12:46 p.m.

Thank you for helping the War Zone contractors, but identical insurance company crimes are destroying the lives of (1) injured workers (2) disabled Americans and (3) citizens filing health care claims as seen at

Professor Joseph Belth from Indiana University wrote :

“They’ve turned Erisa on its head,”  “It was supposed to protect employees, and it’s being used to protect insurers.”

“The most important federal insurance regulation of the past generation is ERISA,” says Tom Baker, deputy dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia. “If ever a law backfired for the public, ERISA is the perfect example.”

John Marshall Law School Professor Mark Debofsky wrote:

“empirical evidence is now available that shows insurers operating under ERISA have systematically engaged in the wrongful denial of claims. Cases of abusive benefit denials involving other disability insurers abound.

“MetLife and its henchmen” is an exact quote written by U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen in a Disability case linked later.

WFAA - TV in Dallas wrote this about Workers Comp :

“a remarkable number of Texans committed suicide because they could no longer endure the pain caused by their injuries and they had been repeatedly turned down for worker’s comp care. Some insurance companies send peer review doctors medical files “stripped” of records important to the possible approval of workers’ comp claims.”

** During the time period of the suicides AIG rigged billions of dollars in bids to increase sales of Workers Comp policies; No one was prosecuted !!

Identical crimes are also being committed against severely injured War Zone Contractors.This Spring I was contacted by an Iraq War Zone Contractor who had his leg, fingers and toes blown off in a car bomb blast. Here are exact quotes :

“The Sheriff repossessed my wheelchair because CNA Global Insurance stopped payment on the check that they issued to the suppliers and my life really started spiraling out of control”

“I am sleeping on the floor on a mattress in the living room with my Night care Assistant sitting on a chair next to my mattress. I have to use a bucket and a bottle to urinate in the evenings.”

Here are quotes from a ProPublica article :

“CNA’s failure to pay out benefits underscores the continuing problems with the Defense Base Act, essentially the workers compensation system for overseas federal contractors.”

“Workers fought long battles for medical care, including such things as prosthetic devices and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.The Labor Department seldom took action to enforce the law.”

MetLife, Unum, Prudential and AIG insurance have all rigged bids to increase their sales of Health and/or Workers Comp policies as seen at :

Quotes from Numerous Federal Court Judges Prove Insurance Company Doctors’ ignore life threatening medical conditions including Brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

Obama and Bush’s DOL and DOJ Directors have seen this evidence but will do nothing to stop these crimes even though the patients may die before their case is heard by the Courts !!

The Judges quotes can be seen at the following website :

** Violations of Seven Laws Repeatedly

Insurance companies are ignoring medical evidence while they make hundreds of billions of dollars because they have agreed to the fiduciary laws under U.S. Title 29 1104 which mandates :

“ a fiduciary shall discharge his duties with respect to a plan solely in the interest of the participants” “with care, skill, prudence, and diligence”

I also have evidence of Wachovia laundering $378 billion for the Mexican Drug Cartels and no one was prosecuted by Obama’s DOJ and SEC.

Plus, a MetLife executive and attorney made large contributions to Obama and then signed non prosecution agreements for bid rigging to increase sales of health policies; At the same time nothing is being done about Doctors’ paid by MetLife ignoring life threatening medical conditions including Brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

You can see this evidence that was filed in Federal Court and sent certified to President Obama and his top Directors by going to :

Bush’s administration also ignored the evidence. Multiple surgeries kept me from documenting as much on Bush. My vision probs from right eye cancer and left eye surgery have caused me to have three more accidents in the last month.

Thousands of lives are being destroyed every year and this is exactly the type of story ProPublica’s mission statement indicates you will cover. I pray ProPublica and PBS will help very soon !!

Interesting stuff. I also find that the article reader comments are, intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful, unlike so many other news sites whose only participants appear to be anonymous trolls who are hostile and unkind. I think there might actually be some constructive public discourse facilitated here.

Wow. The results on political leanings of those who took the poll (which presumably represent ProPublica’s readership) are startling. Where are the conservatives? ... So PP is perceived mostly as non-partisan or moderate, and doing the important work of uncovering corruption and fighting the good fight against bad things that people, businesses, and governments do. And the right apparently doesn’t find this of interest, but liberals, moderates and independents do. I find that to be one more indicator of the problem with political conservatives. This is really pathetic.

I am most interested in what the survey takers listed as subjects that need to be investigated in the future.

the other 99%

Dec. 16, 2011, 9:34 p.m.

the consevetives did not participate, because Rush Limbaugh does his own surveys.

Conservatives didn’t participate, huh? Well as a conservative(libertarian, really) I find it interesting liberals don’t find ProPublica liberal. Even-handed, non-ideological, yes. Liberal, of course not. I come to expect it. I give a little chuckle when my local NPR outlet, during fund raising time(and I donate), lets me know they are unbiased. I have no problem reading or listening to the left, it is healthy, but at least we should all be honest, no?

I would like to see Pro Publica do more “Guides” to the candidates, including President Obama.  They did most of them, but there were a couple that were missed; i.e., Huntsman, etc. 

I, too, enjoy the comments and find them to be enlightening, polite, and not at all troll-like in most cases.  I find that people can comment intelligently on here without being put down for their opinions.  I know that you can’t always change someone’s mind, but you can certainly voice your opinion in the hopes that it MIGHT help someone to think a little more about their own opinions.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories