Last updated June 29, 2015

Philip Meyer

212 Westgreen Dr.

Chapel Hill  NC  27516

Blogging at

Present Position

Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, since 2008.


Previous Positions

Professor of, and Knight Chair in, Journalism, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1993-2008.

William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1981-1993. On Kenan  Leave, fall 1989.

Director of News and Circulation Research, Knight Ridder, Inc., 1978-1981

Director of Market Research, Viewdata Corporation of America, Inc., 1979-1981

National Correspondent, Knight Ridder, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1967-1978

Project Director, Russell Sage Foundation, New York City, 1969-1970 (on leave from Knight Ridder to write Precision Journalism).

Washington Correspondent, Akron Beacon Journal, 1962-1966

Reporter, The Miami Herald, 1958-1962

Graduate Assistant and Part-time Instructor (Political Science), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1956-1958

Assistant State Editor, Topeka Daily Capital, 1954-1956

Reporter, Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, 1952

Editor, Kansas State Collegian, Spring semester, 1952

Reporter, Topeka Daily Capital, Summer, 1951

Reporter, Clay Center (Kansas) Dispatch, Summer, 1950



Harvard University, Nieman Fellow, 1966-1967 (on leave from Knight-Ridder).

University of North Carolina, 1956-1958; M.A., Political Science, 1963. Thesis: Tuttle Creek Dam: A Case Study in Local Opposition.

Kansas State University, 1948-1952; B.S., Technical Journalism, 1952

Clay County (Kansas) Community High School, 1944-1948



Investigative Reporters and Editors Leadership Award, 2011

North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame, 2008

Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Research About Journalism (with Scott Maier) 2005.

Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, 2005

Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award, Newspaper Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2004

AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement, American Association for Public Opinion Research, 2000

Newspaper Association of America Research Federation Award of Merit, 1996

Freedom Forum Center for Media Studies Award for Distinguished Contributions to Media and Media Studies, 1995

National Press Foundation Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award, 1994

Carr Van Anda Award for Enduring Contributions to Journalism, Ohio University, 1975

Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Research About Journalism, 1974

Shared (based on temporary assignment to cover the 1967 Detroit riot) in the Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting awarded to the Detroit Free Press staff, 1968

Detroit Press Club Foundation Professional Award, 1968

Florida Press Association State Press Award, First Place for Depth Reporting, 1968

Citation for Outstanding Interpretation of Education, Education Writers Association, 1960

Public Affairs Reporting Award, American Political Science Association, 1960


University Service

Tenure and Promotion Committee, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 2007-2008

Academic Affairs Institutional Review Board, 1998 – 2000

M.A. Program Coordinator, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 1997 – 2000

Mentor, Minority Pre-graduate Research Experience, Summer 1990

Administrative Board, Institute for Research in Social Science, 1983-1988

IRSS Review Committee, 1988

Committee of Kenan Professors, 1985-1988

Hettleman Prize Committee, 1987-1989

Administrative Board, School of Journalism, 1982-1987


Other Activities

Treasurer, Southern Village Homeowners Association 2013-2016

Board, Carolina Villages, Chapel Hill, 2013

Editorial Advisory Board, Patch Media, 2009-2014

Chair, Grantham Prize Jury, 2006-2011

Treasurer and a founding member of the board of directors, The North Carolina Center On Actual Innocence, 2000 – 2003

University Ministry Committee, Chapel of the Cross (Episcopal), 1999-2001

Board of Contributors, USA Today, 1998-2013

Trustee, Chapel Hill Preservation Society, 1995-1998

President, World Association for Public Opinion Research, 1993-1994. Council member, 1991-1996.

American Participant, Brazil, United States Information Agency, August 1991

President, American Association for Public Opinion Research, 1989-1990; member executive council, 1982-1991.

Board of Directors, North Carolina Independent, 1990-1994

Editorial Board, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 1988-1999

Tom Selleck Visiting Fellow in Media Ethics,University of Southern California, October 1987

Senior Fellow, Gannett Center for Media studies, summer 1985

Member, American Newspaper Publishers Association Readership and Circulation Committee, 1984-1990

Member, Editorial Board, Public Opinion Quarterly, 1981-1987

American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program Advisory Committee, 1981-1996

Editorial Board, Newspaper Research Journal, 1980-1992

Trustee, Bureau of Social Science Research, Washington, D.C., 1976-1986

President, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, 1976-1977. Member, 1971-1980

Member, National Research Council Panel on Privacy and Confidentiality as Factors in Survey Response, 1976-1978

Director, Seminar on Social Research Methods (funded by National Science Foundation through CASW), Northwestern University, 1974, 1975


Other Professional Associations

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors



National Press Club, Washington, D.C.; Carolina Club, Chapel Hill


Military Service

U.S. Navy Reserve, 1952-1965, as Naval Aviation Cadet, Seaman, Ensign.

Active duty, 1952-1954, with assignments at Naval Air Training Command, Pensacola, Fla., and Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Force, Little Creek, Va.



Married to Sue Quail, Topeka, 1956.  Children: Caroline, 1958; Kathy, 1960; Melissa, 1966; Sarah, 1968



Born October 27, 1930, Deshler, Nebraska. Great grandson of Heinrich and Regula Meyer who emigrated in 1864 from Glattfelden, Switzerland, to Atchison County, Kansas.


Selected Bibliography


Paper Route: Finding My Way to Precision Journalism, iUniverse, 2012

Editor,  William F. Woo, Letters from the Editor: Lessons on Journalism and Life, University of Missouri Press, 2007.

The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, University of Missouri Press, 2004, 2009.

Editor, Assessing Public Journalism,  with Edmund Lambeth and Esther Thorson, University of Missouri Press, 1998.

Ethical Journalism: a Guide for Students, Practitioners and Consumers, Longman, Inc., 1987. Portugese translation, A Etica No Jornalismo,  Rio de Janiero: Forense Universitaria,  1989.

The Newspaper Survival Book: An Editor’s Guide to Market Research, Indiana University Press, 1985.

To Keep the Republic: Governing the United States in Its Third Century (with David Olson), McGraw-Hill, New York, 1975. Second edition, retitled Governing the United States, 1978.

Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1973, 1979, 1991. Fourth edition, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. Listed as one of 35 significant books of the 20th century  in journalism and mass communication by Journalism Quarterly, 2000. Listed as one of 50 significant books on public opinion research by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, 1996. Available in Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Albanian and Bulgarian.



Editors, Publishers and Newspaper Ethics: A Report to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, ASNE, Reston, Va., 1983.

Articles in Scholarly Journals

“Certification of Journalists: Necessary for Our Times,” Electronic News, Vol. 2, No 1., January 2008.

“In Memoriam: Leo Bogart, 1921-2005,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1, Spring 2006.

“Quantifying Newspaper Quality: I Know It When I See It” (with Koang-Hyub Kim), Newspaper Research Journal , Winter 2005.

“The Influence Model and Newspaper Business,” Newspaper Research Journal, Winter 2004.

“Above-Average Staff Size Helps Newspapers Retain Circulation” (with Minjeong Kim), Newspaper Research Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3, Summer 2003.

“Learning Reconsidered: Education in the Digital Age,” Journalism Educator, Winter 2003 (with Everette E. Dennis and others).

“Talking the Talk: Expressions of Social Responsibility in Public Newspaper Groups” (with Diana Knott and Virginia Carroll), Newspaper Research Journal, Winter  2002.

“Opinion Without Polls: Finding a Link Between Corporate Culture and Public Journalism,” (with David Loomis), International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Autumn 2000.

“Changing Values in the News Room,” (with David Arant), Journal of Media Ethics, Winter 1999.

“Preelection Polls and Issue Knowledge in the 1996 U.S.Presidential Election,” (with Deborah Potter), Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1998.

“SAT Scores, Journalism and Public Policy,” Economics of Education Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1993.

“After Journalism” (with Karen Jurgensen), Journalism Quarterly, Summer 1992.

“Use of an Electronic Database to Evaluate Newspaper Editorial Quality” (with David Arant), Journalism Quarterly, Summer 1992.

“The USA Today Index of Ethnic Diversity” (with Shawn McIntosh), International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Spring 1992.

“Beating Disclosure to Death” (with Karen Jurgensen), Newspaper Research Journal, Summer 1991.

“Polling as Political Science and Polling as Journalism,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Fall 1990.

“Symposium on the Work of Samuel Lubell” (with Alexander Lamis, Everett C. Ladd, William Schneider and John K. White), PS: Political Science & Politics, June 1990.

“Precision Journalism and the 1988 Elections in the United States,” International Journal of Public  Opinion Research, Fall 1989.

“Defining and Measuring Credibility of Newspapers: Developing an Index,” Journalism Quarterly, Fall 1988.

“A Workable Measure of Auditing Accuracy in Newspapers,” Newspaper Research Journal, Fall 1988.

“The Effect of Public Ownership on Newspaper Companies: A Preliminary Inquiry” (with Stanley T. Wearden), Public Opinion Quarterly, Fall 1984.

“Videotex as a Marketing Problem,” IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, February 1983.

“The National vs. Local News Controversy: A Behavioral Approach,” Newspaper Research Journal, January 1980.

“The Comic Strip Problem,” ANPA News Research Report No. 24, November 1979.

“Models for Editorial Decision Making: The Benefits of Semi-Formality,” Journalism Quarterly, Spring 1978.

“Elitism and Newspaper Believability,” Journalism Quarterly, Spring 1973.

“Journalist, Friend or Foe?” Public Opinion Quarterly, Fall 1971.

“Aftermath of Martyrdom: Negro Militancy and Martin Luther King,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 1969.


Book Chapters

“What Kind of Journalism Does the Public Need?” in Institutions of American Democracy: The Press (with Carolyn Marvin), Oxford University Press, 2005.

“The Proper Role of the News Media in a Democratic Society: Is It Enough Simply to Cover the News?” in Media, Profit, and Politics, Joe Harper and Thom Hantek, Eds., Kent State University Press, 2003.

“Research as a Media Accountability System,” in An Arsenal for Democracy: Media Accountability Systems, Claude-Jean Bertrand, Ed., Hampton Press, 2003. (previously published in French and Portuguese)

“Introduction,” Listening and Learning: Community Indicator Profiles of Knight Foundation Communities and the Nation, Knight Foundation, 2001.

“Hidden Value: Polls and Public Opinion,” in Paul Lavrakas and Michael Traugott, Eds., Election Polls, the News Media and Democracy (with Deborah Potter), Chatham House, 2000.

“La recherche comme moyen de rendre les médias responsables,” in Claude-Jean Bertrand, Ed., L’Arsenal de la Démocratie: Médias, déontologie et M*A*R*S, Paris, Economica, 1999.

“If It Works, How Will We Know?,” in Lambeth, et al., 1998 cited above.

“Accountability When Books Make News,” in Everette E. Dennis, et. al., Publishing Books, New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Publishers, 1997.

“The Media Reformation: Giving the Agenda Back to the People,” in Michael Nelson, Ed., The Elections of 1992, Congressional Quarterly,  1993.

“News Media Responsiveness to Public Health,” in Charles Atkin and Lawrence Wallack, Eds., Mass Communication and Public Health: Complexities and Conflicts, Newbury Park, Ca.: Sage Publications, 1990.

“On the Impracticality of Applied Research,” in Nancy Weatherly Sharp, Ed., Communications Research: The Challenge of the Information Age, Syracuse University Press, 1988.

“Social Science Reporting,” in Proceedings: Education for Newspaper Journalists in the Seventies and Beyond, American Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, 1974.


Articles for Trade Journals

“Narrative Journalism and Precision Journalism: Toward a Unified Field Theory,” Nieman Reports (Online Exclusive), Fall 2011.

“Raising the Ante  Again,” Nieman Watchdog, March 28, 2008. (Online)

“Meshing Purpose With Product,” Nieman Reports, Winter 2006.

“Organizing the New News,” Nieman Reports, Fall 2005.

“The Next Journalism’s Objective Reporting,” Nieman Reports, Winter 2004.

“Saving Journalism,” Columbia Journalism Review, November-December 2004.

“Journalism’s Road to Becoming a Profession,” Nieman Reports, Winter 2002.

“Counting things not easily counted,” The American Editor, April 2002.

“The Absence of Memory Hurts Journalism,” Nieman Reports, Summer 2001.

“Enforcing ethics through exposure,” Quill, December 2000.

“Evaluating the Toolbox,” American Journalism Review, March 2000.

“Changing Values in the Newsroom,” (with M. David Arant), Nieman Reports, Fall 1997.

“Why We Need Ph.Ds,” The American Editor, September 1996.

“Learning to Love Lower Profits,” American Journalism Review, December 1995.

“Defining Public Journalism: Discourse Leading to Solutions,” IRE Journal, November-December 1995.

“Paper Trail,” Columbia Journalism Review, September/October, 1995.

“Moral Confusion: The What, Why, and How of Journalism is Changing,” Quill, November/December 1994.

“Accountability When Books Make News,” Media Studies Journal, The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, Summer 1992.

“Stop Pulling Punches with Polls,” Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 1991.

“An Ethic for the Information Age,” Social Responsibility: Business, Journalism, Law, Medicine, Vol. XVI, Washington and Lee University, 1990.

“Trailing a Weasel Word: How Arguably Unleased a Flood of Superlatives,” Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 1990.

“Ghostboosters: The Press and the Paranormal,” Columbia Journalism Review, March/April, 1986.

“There’s Encouraging News About Newspapers’ Credibility, and It’s in a Surprising Location.” presstime, June 1985.

“News Side and Business Side: Getting Us Together,” Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, July/August 1983.

“A Struggle with the News Research Puzzle,” presstime, February 1982.

“What Videotex Can Learn from Newspapers,” Nieman Reports, Winter 1981.

“Precision Journalism in the United States,” The Media Reporter (Britain’s quarterly journalism review), December 1979.

“Le Journalisme de Precision,” Trimedia, August/September 1979.

“In Defense of the Marketing Approach,” Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 1977.

“The Trouble with News Research,” Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, October 1975.

“The Limits of Intuition,” Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1971.

“The Risks of Interpretation,” Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 1969.

“Truth in Polling,” Columbia Journalism Review, Summer 1968.

“A Newspaper’s Role Between the Riots,” Nieman Reports, June 1968. Reprinted in “a selection of outstanding writing published in Nieman Reports during the last half of the 20th Century, Nieman Reports, Double Issue, Winter 1999/Spring 2000.

“Detroit: When Scholars Joined Journalists,” Columbia Journalism Review, Fall 1967.

“Social Science: A New Beat?” Nieman Reports, June 1967.


General Publications

“Do the Polls Help or Hinder?” Dialogue, United States Information Agency,  (in six languages) 1992.

“The ABC’s of Psychographics,” American Demographics, November 1983.

“If Hitler Asked You to Electrocute a Stranger, Would You?” Esquire, February 1970.  Reprinted in a number of textbooks, e.g. Richard Greenbaum and Harvey A. Tilker, eds., The Challenge of Psychology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1972.

“Playing for the Upper Hand,” Playboy, April 1969.

“The People Beyond 12th Street,” reprint from The Detroit Free Press, 1967.

More than 60  “Forum” columns in USA TODAY, 1998 – 2013 (archived at