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.

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 […]

Presentation video: What role do professional journalists play when anyone can publish?

The audience are now publishers, and a wealth of information is public in real time. How are journalists still relevant? In the annual Shine Lecture at Michigan State University, I explain that journalism will improve when we recognize the unique strengths that community, the network and journalists all bring to the process. They are better […]

Six questions that will tell you what media to trust

You may encounter media today from any number of sources, from traditional news sources to social media to email. How do you know what to trust?

Why ‘be transparent’ has replaced ‘act independently’ as a guiding journalism principle

Whenever people discuss how journalism is changing, one of the most common questions is: “Who is a journalist today and who isn’t?” It’s the wrong question.

Presentation video: What the audience is telling us about the future of news

Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, speaks to the American Society of News Editors conference about how the audience is taking news in a new direction.

Presentation video: Has digital technology made journalism worse, or better? Yes

American Press Institute Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel delivered this TED talk on the future of journalism at the TEDxAtlanta event on May 7, 2013.