Tom Rosenstiel

Former Executive Director, American Press Institute

One of the most recognized thinkers in the country on the future of news, Tom Rosenstiel led API for nine years, leaving in 2021 to become the Eleanor Merrill Visiting Professor on the Future of Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill School of Journalism. He established API as a leader in the effort to make local journalism sustainable. Under his leadership, API published groundbreaking research, developed a cutting-edge news analytics tool that is used by hundreds of newsrooms, and took over management of the news leadership training program Table Stakes.

Tom is the author of 10 books, including three novels. Before joining API in January 2013, he was founder and for 16 years director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, one of the five original projects of the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. He was co-founder and vices chair of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

His first novel, 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 bestseller. His third, Oppo, about a presidential campaign, was published in December 2019.

Among his seven books on journalism, politics and ethics 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” (New York Times) and one of the five best books ever written on journalism (Wall Street Journal). 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.

He is the winner of 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.

Follow him @TomRosenstiel.

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 […]

How non-Twitter users are different

The survey also probed non-Twitter social media users about why they don’t use the social network for news. People offered a range of answers, with no one standing far above any other. Perhaps the most striking result is that these are news consumers who feel they get sufficient news elsewhere. Indeed, the largest number of […]

How false information spreads and gets corrected on Twitter

One question some people have about the openness of the web, including social networks, is about navigating information that proves to be false. The survey probed Twitter users about that experience as well. The findings suggest that there is some self-correcting element to Twitter and to the web generally, born in part out of the […]

How Twitter users interact with brands and promoted tweets

Most Twitter users (77%) have interacted with a promoted tweet in some way. The largest number, 56%, say they have noticed a promoted tweet, topic or account. Fifteen percent have clicked on a promoted tweet, 8% on a tweet under a promoted hashtag. Almost as many, 7%, have followed a promoted account and 6% have […]

Twitter and breaking news

While people end up following news in general on Twitter and use the social network “to pass the time,” the immediacy of using the network to track news in real time, as noted above, is one of the primary reasons that people say they use Twitter and the most common form of news that is […]

Who people follow and discover on Twitter

On Twitter consumers can discover new voices, authors, news providers and take following actions as a result. The survey tried to track those patterns by asking what kind of news sources people follow and what kind they had discovered. The findings reveal that, to a substantial degree, Twitter is a way that news consumers follow […]