Until recently, news organizations in the United States were significant innovators in the field of social science research. The television networks and many newspapers and magazines all had in-house research units that conducted original, high quality social and political research for their readers and viewers, while making important contributions to social science methods. Newspapers commonly sponsored serious research about social issues affecting their local communities. The news organizations often worked in tandem with major social science research organizations to provide in-depth, sophisticated analysis of these issues.
Today, as economic pressures have forced news organizations to cut back their enterprise journalism, this type of study has become increasingly rare, an unfortunate trend that can lead to important deficits in the knowledge and understanding of important issues facing society.