The Associated Press, NORC at the University of Chicago, Establish New Center for Public Affairs Research

CHICAGO, August 31, 2011—The Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago announced today the formation of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The Center will combine the expertise of NORC, one of the world’s premier social science research organizations, with AP, the essential global news network whose news is seen every day over all media platforms and formats by more than half of the world’s population.

Leading the Center are Daniel S. Gaylin, executive vice president of NORC at the University of Chicago and Trevor Tompson, global director of polling for The Associated Press.  In addition, the Center will have an independent advisory committee chaired by Paul J. Lavrakas, an industry leader with deep expertise in survey research for academic, media and commercial institutions. The Center’s headquarters will be at NORC in Chicago. 

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research will conduct, analyze, and distribute social research in the public interest on newsworthy topics.  The initiative is designed to create high-impact journalism and meaningful contributions to public discussion on important national and international issues.  The Center will commission original survey research, collect and analyze other types of data and produce insightful analysis on various topics.  The Center’s work will be sponsored by philanthropic foundations and other individuals and organizations interested in deepening understanding of key issues. 

The Center will issue its inaugural report the first week in September detailing the results of a survey entitled “Civil Liberties and Security: 10 Years After 9/11” which seeks to determine where people draw the line between civil liberties and security.  The survey also looks back at the impact of the events of 9/11 and how they have affected the way Americans live their lives today.

“For seven decades, NORC’s high-quality, objective social research has been of great value to academicians, researchers, and policy-makers,” said John Thompson, President and CEO of NORC. “We are excited to partner with The Associated Press and its world-class team of journalists to bring insightful data and analysis to the broader public that will assist them in making decisions and assessing the world around them.” Thompson added that the work of the new center will “benefit from the input of a superb group of scientific advisors.”

“AP is committed to being an industry leader in high-quality opinion research. We see independent research into the public’s views and opinions as a core part of our journalism,” said AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News Michael Oreskes.  “We are proud to partner with NORC at the University of Chicago, one of the finest institutions in the research world, to bring our audiences unique insights into the important social and political questions of our time.”  

The Center will also:

• Track selected social, political, and cultural trends over time.
• Explore the relationships among public opinion research and ongoing public policy discussions.
• Bring together subject-matter experts from AP and NORC—and leading experts from other institutions—to collaborate on research projects.
• Conduct methodological research that will advance the field of public opinion research.
• Create an education program about public opinion polling to help journalists and the public make judgments about the quality of the survey research they read in the media.
• Sponsor conferences, seminars, and other public forums where experts from AP and NORC at the University of Chicago, and other institutions, can discuss and debate important issues.

For more information, visit

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research organization headquartered in downtown Chicago with additional offices on the University of Chicago's campus and in the D.C. Metro area. NORC also supports a nationwide field staff as well as international research operations. With clients throughout the world, NORC collaborates with government agencies, foundations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in key areas including health, education, economics, crime, justice, energy, security, and the environment. NORC’s 70 years of leadership and experience in data collection, analysis, and dissemination—coupled with deep subject matter expertise—provides the foundation for effective solutions.
The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.


Media Contacts

For NORC, Eric Young (301) 634-9536

For The Associated Press, Jack Stokes (212) 621-1730