Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Jeff Sonderman

Deputy Director

Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.

He is a leader in helping modern journalism thrive through the right blend of technology, audience engagement, data-driven content strategy, integrated business models, and transformative leadership. He has worked as a writer, editor, manager, coach, trainer, speaker, and consultant with diverse types of news publishers across the country.

He is the architect and developer of API's Metrics for News analytics software that reinvents how publishers use data to inform content strategy. He also edits API's Need to Know newsletter, a uniquely designed resource for spreading fresh, useful insights across the industry, and designed API's Strategy Studies research format for in-depth strategic guidance. And he consults with publishers on a range of issues related to content strategy, organizational transformation, audience development, newsroom structure and workflows, product management, and much more.

He has taught digital journalism at Georgetown University. Before joining the American Press Institute in 2013, he was the digital media fellow of The Poynter Institute. His earlier journalism background includes digital news — helping to launch TBD.com, a local digital news startup in Washington, D.C. — and various roles in newspapers, as an award-winning reporter, online editor and metro editor of The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa.

He graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and resides in Falls Church, Va., with his wife and daughter.

Email Jeff at jeff.sonderman@pressinstitute.org or follow him @jeffsonderman.

General election news coverage: What engages audiences down the ballot

  Summary As Election Day approaches, more people seek news and information about politics. To understand the habits of news audiences in the run-up to the election, we analyzed what was being covered in reporting about down-ballot, non-presidential races for U.S. Congress, governor, and local offices in the lead-up to the 2016 general election. The […]

Strategy coverage, such as fundraising and horserace references, appears in over half of articles

When covering an election, journalists choose a mix of two basic types of reporting — “voter guide” pieces that examine the issue positions and values of the candidates, and “strategy” pieces that analyze campaign tactics and who’s ahead in the race. Observers often say that the voter guide approach is the higher journalistic purpose, while […]

Public safety, education, and social issues are most mentioned topics; user engagement consistent across these topics

Another critical, though sometimes less prominent part of election news reporting, is the amount of coverage devoted to issues. Issue coverage is important in that it can influence which issues people consider to be important, a pattern known as agenda setting. Although news outlets historically have an important agenda-setting influence in American campaigns, the amount […]

How geography, headlines and fact-checking affect campaign coverage engagement

State and local campaign coverage sees greater time on page than federal race coverage Each story was classified based on whether it focused on a federal race (U.S. Senate or House) or a state-based race, including both statewide (e.g. attorney general) and local (e.g. mayoral) contests. Articles referencing state-related campaigns had a higher average time […]

Methodology

We examined 428 newspaper stories from the websites of eight local newspapers across six states (California, Florida, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington). Only news articles focusing on 2016 non-presidential election campaigns, including federal (U.S. Senate, U.S. House), statewide (e.g. gubernatorial, Attorney General, Supreme Court, etc.), and local races (e.g. mayor, council, supervisors, school board, etc.), […]

Primary election coverage: What types of news engage audiences

A broad, data-driven analysis of campaign coverage by the Engaging News Project and the American Press Institute shows how local, state, and federal elections are covered across the United States and what types of campaign coverage engage individuals. The Engaging News Project partnered with the American Press Institute to examine local news coverage of the […]

New 2016 data shows a bright spot for newsroom diversity

The just-released ASNE census of newsroom diversity shows some types of news organizations managed to grow their number of minority employees in 2016, despite challenging conditions. The trend, though short-term and not perfect, offers cause for optimism that some news organizations are making progress in adding employees from diverse backgrounds even as their staff sizes shrink. […]

Making the leap from editorial to product thinking

Many of the people performing product management roles in news organizations have moved over from traditional editorial roles. That shift requires some changes in mindset and work habits, as they find producing daily news content is a quite different responsibility from managing the long-term growth and usability of the product. Several of the people at […]

How to hire effective product managers for a news organization

Whether your news organization is looking to create its first product management role, or add to an existing product team, finding and recruiting the right person can be difficult. For one, it is a field like developers that is in high demand, including from technology startups and large corporations who may offer a higher salary […]

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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.