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 journalists are dealing with changes in the industry and their jobs

Journalists’ views on new trends: sponsored content and aggregation Technology and business disruption have brought about new issues that relate to ethics and economics. The survey probed two of these in particular: the advent of sponsored content or native advertising and the issue of compensation for aggregation and curation. First, the quest for new, more […]

The career paths of people with communication degrees

After graduating, the great majority of these students (89%) did work in media, journalism, public relations or somewhere in communication, at least for some time. Most have had several such jobs. The largest number of people have had two to three jobs in media since graduation, and that doesn’t change much whether someone graduated between […]

Methodology

The survey was conducted online through the lists of alumni of the 22 participating schools and was distributed through partner alumni email lists between April 14 and June 29, 2015, with the dates varying within that time frame among different schools. The survey was executed using the SurveyMonkey survey tool, with consultation from senior SurveyMonkey […]

Facing Change: The needs, attitudes and experiences of people in media

A new study of communication graduates finds that people in many different industries — from commercial brands to government and think tanks — now produce what they consider journalism, and while they are pessimistic about the direction of news in general, most believe their own work in the last five years has gotten better. In […]

Our plan for enabling news innovation through culture change

Based on this new research, API has designed a strategy that we believe is an unusual, human-centered and flexible program of consultation, education, outreach and support to help news organizations enable innovation and problem solving for the future. We see the key first step for an organization as a personalized assessment of its current culture, […]

The path to creating innovative culture in news organizations

In the tech startup world a now-famous phrase has been coined: “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and it has been extended to include “technology for lunch, and products for dinner, and soon thereafter everything else too.” Culture is shaped by many factors. There are professional mores, industrial processes, internal structures, communication, personnel, accumulated habits, and […]

A culture-based strategy for creating innovation in news organizations

For journalism it truly is the best of times and the worst of times. The best, in that never has there been more opportunity for creative storytelling, audience expansion, and crafting or grasping new digital tools for whatever needs arise. The worst, in that news organizations are often unable to seize the opportunities at their […]

How niche reporting leads to higher quality information for everyone: 12 good questions with Lara Setrakian

Syria’s civil war is a story that goes in and out of the mainstream news media, but at Syria Deeply, it’s the only story. Lara Setrakian was a foreign correspondent for ABC News and Bloomberg Television before she decided to strike out on her own and create Syria Deeply, a news site devoted exclusively to […]

Turning subject experts into journalists: 9 good questions with Robert Steiner

A fellowship program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs recruits subject-matter experts – from scientists and lawyers to economists and cyber-experts – and over eight months trains them to become beat reporters by mentoring their work for a growing network of newspaper partners including The Dallas Morning News, The Globe and Mail […]

Reporting ‘the whole story’: 9 good questions with David Bornstein of Solutions Journalism Network

The Solutions Journalism Network works to support reporting that examines potential solutions to social problems, rather than just chronicling the problems themselves. It just received a grant for $180,000 from the Knight Foundation to collaborate with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on giving reporters data about solutions to health problems. We talked with […]