Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Jeff Sonderman (Page 6)

Deputy Executive Director and Executive Vice President

Jeff Sonderman is the deputy executive 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, 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 or follow him @jeffsonderman.

Find us at mediaXchange 2014

If you can come to this year’s NAA mediaXchange conference, March 16-19 in Denver, we hope you will take advantage of a couple valuable American Press Institute programs. On the second day of the conference, API will be releasing groundbreaking new audience research that probes into consumer behavior, habits, and attitudes surrounding things we call news. We’ll […]

Presentation video: How to create specialized mobile news apps

This keynote presentation to the MoDevEast conference of mobile designers and developers highlights some major findings from our in-depth Strategy Study: The best strategies for creating specialized mobile apps. In a brief talk, I introduce a few ideas for how news organizations and others can identify opportunities for niche mobile apps, create quick and cheap initial […]

The best strategies for creating specialized mobile apps

Think about the mobile apps or websites your organization uses to reach the public, and ask yourself two questions: what do they do, and who are they for? If the answers that come back are “everything” and “everyone,” we’re about to change that. A mobile app or website that serves all your traditional content to […]

Draw upon your community’s passions to design niche mobile products

Thinking about any potential new product should start with identifying the audience and its needs. Consider the major annual events in your community, the popular hobbies/activities, sports teams, major civic problems, major industries — in what do people show an unusually high interest? Now identify the potential niche audiences that have information needs particularly suited […]

Draw upon your staff’s passions to create niche mobile products

Once publishers have an idea of the potential audience segments for niche apps in their market, they need to look internally at the resources and expertise they have (or don’t have) to meet those needs. One way to start with small, cheap experiments to test these niche markets is to make use of the content […]

Adopt a user-centered design process to plan your niche mobile app

If you aren’t familiar with user-centered design, you can infer a lot just from the name. It is a process that puts the intended users of a product at the center of your decision making. The potential strength of a niche app strategy is that it targets a particular defined audience. But here’s a problem: […]

Unleash your hacker culture to get an app built

Now you have a pretty good idea of a mobile product you might build. You know what your audience wants, what your staff can sustain, and the features that users need it to include. But how do you actually create it? Make it a side project In the spirit of starting small and cheap, many […]

Make room for ‘beta’ app experiments to grow

Steve Jobs famously told the team building the first Macintosh computer in the early 1980s, “Real artists ship.” That motto echoes as the delivery of news shifts to mobile and publishers must move there quickly and then refine. Despite all the energy spent planning, designing, building, testing and refining a new app or product, nothing […]

Obstacles you will face in creating niche mobile apps

In the earlier chapters we have shown why targeting a niche audience with a specialized mobile product is a powerful model that fits the modern era of media and technology usage. But it’s not without challenges. Publishers that venture into this territory will face some obstacles and potential pitfalls. One is that these specialized mobile […]

Strategy worksheet: Your niche mobile app plan

We developed a worksheet with a series of planning questions to get you started with conceiving and creating niche mobile products that are right for your audience. Consider sitting down with a few creative collaborators from across your organization to tackle these questions together. Download the strategy worksheet here.

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The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »