Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

About us

The American Press Institute conducts research, training, convenes thought leaders and creates tools to help chart a path ahead for journalism in the 21st century.

The Press Institute is an educational non-advocacy 501(c)3 nonprofit organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance. It aims to help the news media, especially local publishers and newspaper media, advance in the digital age.


Founded in 1946, its mission was to help the news industry fulfill the purpose of the First Amendment – to sustain a free press in the public interest. That mission continues in the modern era.

The Institute initially was located at Columbia University’s Journalism School before moving in 1974 to Reston, Va. In early 2012, the Institute merged with the NAA Foundation of the Newspaper Association of America (now known as the News Media Alliance). The NAA Foundation was established in 1963. The new organization has expanded its mission of training through research, convening, digital education, workshops and more.

What we’re up to

API’s current activities include:

Need to Know daily newsletter
The smart way to start your day. Our newsletter curates and explains fresh useful insights for people advancing quality, innovative and sustainable journalism. Each morning we bring you new angles on the top headlines, insights you can apply, new information from global and unusual sources and ideas that challenge you to think differently.

New metrics for news and data-informed content strategy
We have begun working closely with local news publishers to help them transform their news product based on a data-driven analysis of both their content and their audiences. We use custom-built content analysis software and deep audience research to help them rethink their editorial strategy and build their brand around tent-pole areas of coverage. The program is designed to help publishers improve their news coverage, build community support and rally internal morale. Contact us if you are interested in learning more.

Audience research
The Media Insight Project is an initiative of the American Press Institute, the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago. Its first major piece of audience research, titled “The Personal News Cycle,” breaks new ground in understanding how Americans get different types of news.

Industry-academia partnerships
API’s Research Advisory Group brings together academic scholars and practicing journalists to exchange ideas, data and undertake new research projects together.

Thought Leader Summits
API convenes focused, diverse groups of people to bring clarity to important issues in journalism. Our first summit focused on sponsored content and native advertising as a new business model. Our second summit convened leaders in mobile journalism.

Improving accountability journalism
API is leading a multi-year project to examine how to improve government reporting, political fact-checking and other forms of accountability journalism. We are working with news outlets to increase and improve accountability reporting through conferences, educational materials and research.

Sharing ideas
On our website we publish columns, Q&As and in-depth reports that foster innovation in revenue models and technology and distill lessons from our events.

Workshops and transformational training
Our focused workshops in cities around the country help journalism innovators tackle important challenges and adopt new best practices. In 2012-13 we did this through the Transformation Tour. API also works with some partner organizations on long-term transformation and innovation processes, spreading the best of what we learn to everyone else.

Online learning
Our e-learning service offers self-directed virtual courses and recorded versions of our in-person workshops. All are free.

News literacy curriculum and NIE resources
API offers resources that news organizations, educators, advisors, parents and students can use to better understand how news and media works.

Journalism Essentials guides
A collection of guides that explain the basic principles and elements of good journalism. Many of these guides are largely based on the research and teachings of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.

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Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.