Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Tom Rosenstiel

Executive Director

An author, journalist, researcher and media critic, Tom Rosenstiel is one of the nation's most recognized thinkers on the future of media. Before joining the American Press Institute in January 2013, he was founder and for 16 years director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., and co-founder and vice chair of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.

He is the author of seven books, including The Elements of Journalism: What News People Should Know and the Public Should Expect, which has been translated into more than 25 languages and has been described as “The most important book on the relationship of journalism and democracy published in the last fifty years” (Roy Peter Clark, (Poynter), "a modern classic" (Bill Safire, New York Times), and one of the five "essential books" on journalism (Wall Street Journal). He and Kovach have also written two other books together, including, Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. His newest book is The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century, co-edited with Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute. His books and work at PEJ have generated more than 50,000 academic citations.

His first novel Shining City, from Ecco Press of Harper Collins, will appear in 2017.

During his journalism career he worked as media writer for the Los Angeles Times for a decade, chief congressional correspondent for Newsweek, press critic for MSNBC, business editor of the Peninsula Times Tribune, a reporter for Jack Anderson’s Washington Merry Go ‘Round column, and began his career at the Woodside Country Almanac in his native northern California.

Among his awards are the Goldsmith Book Award from Harvard, four Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Journalism Research from SPJ and four awards for national for media criticism from Penn State. He has been named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the organization's highest honor, the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri Journalism School, the Dewitt Carter Reddick Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in the Field of Communications from the University of Texas at Austin, and the Columbia Journalism School Distinguished Alumni Award.

Email Tom at tom.rosenstiel@pressinstitute.org or follow him @tbr1.

Charting new ground: The ethical terrain of nonprofit journalism

Overview A different kind of revenue, one that has nothing to do with advertising or subscriptions, is playing a larger role in journalism today. Nonprofit funding, once largely the province of public broadcasting, is becoming an important source of support for a new cohort of non-commercial news organizations —  many of them digital natives — […]

Methodology for our survey of media and funders

The surveys of foundations and media organizations do not represent of all media-funding foundations, nonprofit media organizations or commercial news outlets in the United States. The precise size and scope of that universe is difficult to determine, but efforts were made to have as comprehensive and representative sample as possible. Although the surveys are not […]

Essays on the ethics of funders and nonprofit media

Surveys can be a valuable research tool because they can offer some sense of scale. But they do not allow respondents to articulate their ideas in depth. As a consequence, we commissioned five essays from prominent stakeholders in the journalism-funding eco-system: Two are from nonprofit news outlets, two from foundations that fund media, and one […]

A look at the landscape of nonprofit journalism

Although not all foundations or news organizations in the United States were surveyed, the data enhance our understanding of the world of nonprofit journalism in general and the landscape of newer nonprofit media in particular. This community shares many goals, experiences and problems with a variety of perspectives. Nonprofit news organizations A total of 94 […]

Motivations and potential conflicts of those who fund news organizations

The foundations and nonprofit media organizations surveyed are almost equally divided on the overall motive behind the financial support for media. Less than half of funders (43 percent) and nonprofits (40 percent) both say nonprofit media funding is “journalism driven,” indicating that media is funded in order to “strengthen a free press and to educate […]

What metrics and outcomes funders ask for from news organizations

Another issue in the nonprofit news landscape is about metrics, or proof that work being underwritten is reaching an audience or perhaps having even more of an impact — such as changing public attitudes on an issue. The question of metrics is hardly new. Commercial news organizations for years have used some numbers to establish […]

How news organizations disclose relationships with funders

The study also looked at whether the work of news organizations intersected with their partners or funders beyond the collaboration. What happens, for instance, when a partner or a funder becomes the subject of a news story? Do the media organizations who have done stories on partners and funders note their relationship? The answer, the […]

When individuals behind a donation are unknown, how news organizations proceed

One issue that has emerged in recent years regarding transparency is so-called donor-advised funds — financial vehicles that manage charitable donations made by individuals, families or organizations and under law do not have to disclose the identify of those contributors. The funds have become controversial because they can be a way for people or foundations […]

How news organizations handle disclosure and transparency of funding

Transparency is considered a core element of journalism and an important feature of foundations. And while the most foundations and newsrooms report in this survey that they practice a high degree of transparency in their dealings with each other, few have concrete rules or written regulations regarding disclosure. When it comes to disclosure, the commercial […]

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