Amy Kovac-Ashley

Amy Kovac-Ashley is the former Executive Vice President & Chief of News Transformation.

Before her work at American Press Institute, Amy worked as a journalism educator. She was the managing director of West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media Innovation Center and the assistant dean of Georgetown University’s master’s in journalism program. She has taught journalism ethics, media writing, media law and Capstone courses.

She spent a dozen years as a professional journalist, with most of her time working in print or digital news. She reported on education and other local affairs at The Herald News and The Roanoke Times and was an editor at Foreign Policy magazine, and The Washington Post, where she was the paper’s first social media editor.

Amy holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

How Santa Cruz Local proved the value of community engagement to staff

Founded in January 2019, Santa Cruz Local is a local news platform that produces a podcast, newsletter and website about public policy in Santa Cruz County, California. As of August 2020, Santa Cruz Local had 592 paying members, its newsletter had 4,877 subscribers, its podcast attracted 1,000 regular listeners and its website captured 64,000 unique […]

How the Detroit Free Press partnered to engage underserved communities

The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper covering Detroit, Michigan. At 189 years old, it is the local paper of record. The Free Press’ website,, attracted 8.8 million monthly visitors in 2019. That same year, the newspaper had a daily print circulation of 131,000 and a Sunday circulation of 925,000, both down […]

How The Pilot used reader data to boost digital subscriptions

The Pilot is a 100-year-old newspaper that covers Moore County, North Carolina, and publishes biweekly. As of August 2020, it had a print circulation of 10,000, while attracted 155,000 unique visitors and its daily email newsletter had 21,000 subscribers. Goal After “several years of minimal subscription sales,” The Pilot wants to increase and retain […]

Local news sustainability: API advisers highlight three paths forward

As the coronavirus ravages local journalism outlets across America — resulting in countless layoffs, furloughs and closures — it has laid bare how much we rely on local news to inform our lives. If national media is our window into the country, then local media is our window into community. More than that, local media […]

API provides listening fellows free access to remote engagement tools via ReachNC

To support its community listening fellows and their newsrooms during the coronavirus pandemic, the American Press Institute will adjust grant plans and pay for all fellows to access the listening and engagement tool suite, Reach. The move supports up to all 10 newsrooms in the API Community Listening Fellowship, a grant-funded project to help news […]

API election network for local news leaders gains two community managers

The American Press Institute today announced the addition of two community managers, Andrew Rockway and John Hernandez, to its project to connect local newsroom leaders and experts ahead of the 2020 elections. Together, they will help newsroom leaders share with and learn from one another and experts about effective and efficient ways to combat false […]

Ten engagement leaders share insights through API Community Listening Fellowship

The American Press Institute is grateful for the contribution of 10 engaged journalism experts who are advising journalists and news organizations in our Community Listening Fellowship. The fellowship, supported by a one-time grant from the News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School for Journalism at CUNY, empowers 10 journalists and their newsrooms to […]

Meet API’s 2019-20 community listening fellows

Ten journalists from news organizations across the country will receive support from the American Press Institute for year-long projects that help their newsrooms start more of their journalism from community listening. The journalists, or 2019-20 Community Listening Fellows, will receive in-person and remote training and support on how to employ listening strategies to inform their […]

Apply now for year-long support to build community listening into your newsroom

The American Press Institute has opened applications for a new year-long program to support news organizations that want to build more of their journalism based on community listening. We’re looking for individuals who want their journalism to be better informed and inspired by their communities’ needs but who need guidance on strategies to make that […]

Students can help address diversity and inclusivity in news — here’s one opportunity happening soon

In all our work with news organizations, increasing diversity in newsrooms and among audiences remains a challenge. Many newsrooms do not include voices that can speak to the experiences of the communities the media aspires to serve, and many people feel most news organizations do not address their needs or concerns. The issue cuts across […]