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 vices chair of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

He is the author of nine books, including his two novels. His first, Shining City (2017), about a supreme court nomination, was an NPR Book of the Year. His second, The Good Lie (2019), about a terrorist incident, was a Washington Post best seller. His third, Oppo, will appear in December 2019.

Tom has written seven books on journalism, politics and ethics. Among them is The Elements of Journalism: What News People Should Know and the Public Should Expect, co-authored with Bill Kovach, which has been translated into more than 25 languages and is used widely in journalism education worldwide. It has been called “a modern classic” (NYT) and one of the five best books ever written on journalism (WSJ).

Taken together, Tom’s media criticism, his nonfiction books and his research work at API and at PEJ have generated more than 50,000 academic citations.

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 @TomRosenstiel.

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 […]

Few news organizations have written guidelines about outside funding of news

One of the most striking findings from the research is there aren’t clear or universal rules of the road here — and very few written rules or guidelines on either side that could clarify roles and establish editorial firewalls. When it comes how to communicate with funders, for instance, 43 percent of nonprofit media outlets […]

How often funders get to review content before it is published

What kind of communication do nonprofit news organizations and funders have about the news content that those funders underwrite? The answer varies depending on whether you ask grantors or grantees. In general, media organizations are less inclined to believe funders have input than funders are. For instance, when you ask nonprofit media outlets, just 6 […]

How much funders specify the content news organizations produce

How specific are funders about the content they want to finance? General operating support grants, which allows a nonprofit media organization the most freedom regarding how it spends funds, was the most common type of grant cited by the nonprofit media organizations surveyed. Most foundations (57 percent) also said they had given grants to help […]

The nature of grants that fund nonprofit news organizations

In all, more foundations surveyed said they are funding nonprofit journalism — both to nonprofit media and in collaborations with commercial media — than they were five years ago. That finding is consistent with what the Foundation Center, Knight Foundation and Media Impact Funders have found elsewhere. In all, 43 percent of funders said the […]

Most funders think donations to news organizations meet their objectives

In the end, do funders think their underwriting of media is accomplishing what they want? More than half of foundations said they consider their media grantmaking a success; generally accomplishing their objectives, and a few exceeding them. Very few report falling short of their objectives. However, about 35 percent did not answer the question, skipping […]

Fact-checking and accountability journalism: Popular, effective — but sometimes misunderstood

Most people who studied journalism or communication at a broad selection of schools across the United States believe that fact-checking journalism — a relatively new form of accountability reporting in politics — is effective at improving political discourse, according to a new survey. About two-thirds of graduates of communication and journalism, or 65 percent, across […]

Twitter and life

Just over half of social media users (53%) have a Twitter account and most (67%) have had it for more than 3 years, according to the survey. An even wider world of people encounter Twitter without using it. Of all Twitter users, 68% see hashtags and Twitter handles or tweets displayed on TV, 61% in […]