API Summit: Reimagining Opinion Journalism

The American Press Institute will hold an invitation-only Thought Leader Summit on improving opinion and commentary in news on April 2-3, 2019 in Phoenix, Ariz.

“Reimagining Opinion Journalism: Ideas for Depolarizing Public Debate” will gather innovators in opinion content, civil dialogue and audience development who are leading change around opinion and discourse projects in media. The event will bring together people with a range of titles, all of whom have hands-on experience or big ideas on the ways opinion sections can better reach new audiences, include a greater diversity of voices, contribute to better discourse and support journalism’s sustainability.

This summit builds on API efforts to help news organizations listen to and better serve the range of audiences in their communities. Amid a climate of polarization, distrust and often shrinking newsrooms, opinion sections face unusual challenges and possible opportunities. At a time when people have unprecedented options to share their opinions freely online, how can opinion and commentary from news organizations stand out? How can media use their opinion sections to inspire healthier discourse and lift up a greater diversity of ideas and perspectives? And, importantly, can these changes help sustain the business?

At our summit, we plan to hold in-depth discussions on how opinion journalism can help audience-media relationships, clarify confusion on distinctions between opinion and news, contribute to reader revenue strategies, and other topics.

Unlike a typical conference, the intimate, interactive summit allows each attendee to be an active participant, sharing their expertise and experiences while gaining actionable insights from others. Discussion topics will be surfaced in advance by invitees before arrival at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, our host for the event (and an institution with direct experience and understanding about how opinion journalism relates to news organizations and the communities they serve).

Following the event, API will publish a practical resource with lessons for the future of opinion journalism. Luis Gomez, an engagement editor in the Ideas and Opinion section of The San Diego Union-Tribune, will author the report. Cole Goins, a community engagement consultant and former director of community engagement at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, is assisting in planning the day.

Participating organizations include, among others:

Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Republic

American Society of News Editors

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlantic

Austin American-Statesman

Better Angels

Capital Public Radio

Center for Media Engagement


The Coral Project


Deseret News

Detroit Free Press


Education Week

Erie Times-News

Greensboro News & Record

Houston Chronicle


The McClatchy Company

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Minneapolis Star Tribune

National Institute for Civil Discourse

News Co/Lab

New York Times


Philadelphia Media Network


Richmond Times-Dispatch

San Diego Union-Tribune

The Seattle Times

Solutions Journalism Network

Trusting News

USA Today Network Tennessee

Voices for Rural Resilience

The Washington Post


Space is limited at API Thought Leader Summits and participation is by invitation only; however, people interested in participating may apply for consideration. We look for individuals and organizations advancing the summit’s topic area, with efforts to show. We believe a diversity of lived experiences, skill sets and backgrounds makes these events successful.

For more information, contact Kevin Loker, API’s director of program operations and partnerships, at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.