Kevin Loker

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Research

Kevin Loker serves as director of strategic partnerships and research for the American Press Institute. He helps API collaborate with and complement the work of other organizations that want to improve journalism and its business. In addition, he leads research initiatives and projects on emerging challenges in journalism that advance API’s core program areas.

Kevin’s work in partnerships spans several types of work. He has helped API secure and develop grant-funded programs that support news transformation, including a Community Listening Fellowship for journalists and a Listening & Sustainability Lab for publishers of color. He has overseen programs that have distributed to local news organizations more than $300,000 in funding to experiment with audience-centered journalism. He has organized nearly a dozen invite-only summits on other emerging challenges in journalism, such as reimagining opinion sections and developing reader revenue.

Kevin has also served on research teams since API’s reinvention as an applied think tank. He’s contributed to more than a dozen national studies on news audiences with the Media Insight Project, API’s joint research initiative with Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, as well as research into the ethics of philanthropic funding of journalism. In 2020, he served as a research assistant for the fourth edition of The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect (2021).

Before API, Kevin worked in digital and membership services for the Online News Association. He is a former contributor to 10,000 Words, a media industry blog. Together with his wife Laura, he received a 2017 Catholic Press Association Award for an email newsletter for Catholics.

Email Kevin at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org or follow him @kevinloker.

Guiding people to practical information: Key takeaways from experiments in ‘service journalism’

Service journalism is having a moment. Newsrooms large and small are discovering — and in some cases, rediscovering — that they can find traction in giving consumers practical information, on subjects ranging from voting to student debt to COVID-19, in a confusing world. With midterm elections approaching, economic concerns multiplying and the pandemic grinding onward, […]

What local news organizations are learning by guiding audiences to practical information

Join the American Press Institute for a discussion Monday, June 27, 2022, on how publishers are building upon experiments with practical guides, messaging services and more, including lessons that may help guide outreach and coverage for the fall 2022 elections. Local news organizations seeking to better serve their communities in recent years have leaned into […]

How might journalists help communities overcome division in our digital world?

Fractured, distrustful, polarized. Online and off, it’s easy to see why many of us use these words to describe our current moment. Most news organizations seek to inform and provide a common set of facts that can help their communities solve problems. But in today’s disrupted media environment, newsrooms have also wrestled with questions about […]

Polarization, journalism and the ‘pictures in our heads’: A Q&A with Yanna Krupnikov

Polarization challenges journalists’ ability to do their jobs. With divergent narratives on the political left and right, it can feel almost immobilizing to figure out ways to convey facts to people who seem to live in entirely different realities. Navigating how to build trust with those communities may feel demoralizing, and especially so if prominent […]

What might journalism learn from ‘bridging’? A Q&A with Mónica Guzmán

In recent years, the number of nonprofits and initiatives that could be categorized under a concept called “bridging” has expanded in the U.S.: Millions of Conversations, The People’s Supper and Good Conflict are just a few. Some efforts build on conflict resolution practices at a large scale (think social psychology) or individual (think marriage counseling), […]

Can journalism reduce perception gaps? Q & A with Noelle Malvar

Good journalists strive to uncover and share truth with others. That’s what attracts many people to the field or to supporting it, including myself. It’s also why in recent years I have become interested in the study of “perception gaps,” or deeply distorted understandings people have of each other. I saw polls, like one from […]

Journalism in the fog of ‘high conflict’: Q&A with Amanda Ripley  

When I think about the word “conflict,” it’s hard not to think of journalism. I learn about most conflicts in the world and many even in our own country through news coverage of them. But with the speed and aggression at which information barrels at us today, it’s sometimes hard to stop and think about […]

API’s ‘Local News Ideas-to-Action Series’ to advance local governance reporting

The American Press Institute is beginning a new effort to support audience-centered accountability and government reporting, starting with a kickoff event June 17. Through discussion, peer learning and small project funds, the Local News Ideas-to-Action Series will help news organizations learn from journalists and newsrooms prioritizing the information needs of their communities to shape reporting; […]

How listening informed La Estrella de Tucsón’s reporting during COVID-19

When COVID-19 infection rates began rising in southern Arizona in early spring, two things quickly became clear: one, predominantly Hispanic communities were suffering more than white communities, and two, people in those communities were desperate for reliable, relevant news — ideally, news in their native language. Prior to the pandemic, Liliana López Ruelas, Hispanic community […]

How Documented uses WhatsApp to reach local immigrant communities

As the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in the U.S. and around the world, many news organizations have turned to texting services to reach their communities with critical news and information. Platforms like Reach, GroundSource and Subtext have helped news outlets learn about audiences’ information needs and address them directly via SMS. Some news […]