News Quality

A well-informed citizenry is essential for a healthy democracy. But are today’s news sources providing the information, analysis, and context needed to help Americans make informed decisions about candidates and policies? How can the “nutritional content” of our media diets be improved? How can reporters, increasingly overburdened by multiple demands on their time and reduced resources, provide the best possible reporting for their audiences?

The Shorenstein Center seeks to address these challenges through research that analyzes media performance while providing recommendations for improvement, through the development of resources that educate reporters on the latest evidence-based research, and through the public recognition of high-quality journalism that improves civic life.

The Journalist’s Resource

The Journalist’s Resource is a project of the Shorenstein Center aimed at bridging the gap between journalism and academia. Its primary goal is helping journalists improve their work by relying more often on scientific evidence and high-quality, peer-reviewed research.

While the The Journalist’s Resource team visits journalism classrooms and offers training for professional media, its main focus is running a website that synthesizes and curates contemporary research on public policy topics. The site has informed countless works of journalism and is continually linked to and cited by news organizations large and small, including the New York Times, CBS Philly, Vanity Fair and FiveThirtyEight. About 2 million visitors used the site over the past year. Nearly 49,000 journalists, faculty, students and others subscribe to the project’s weekly e-mail and more than 48,000 people follow on Twitter.

In 2017, The Journalist’s Resource moved to extend its reach by offering its first live webinar. It also co-led workshops on research methods at the annual conference of the national Education Writers Association and is making plans to do similar trainings at multiple journalism conferences in 2018. Learn more at


Media Coverage of the 2016 Election
A multi-part research series authored by Thomas E. Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press

Assessing Campaign Quality: Was the 2016 Presidential Campaign a Travesty?
April 18, 2019
By Roderick P. Hart, Fall 2018 Shorenstein Fellow and Shivers Chair in Communication and Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin

Reinventing Local TV News: Innovative Storytelling Practices to Engage New Audiences
February 12, 2019
By Mike Beaudet, professor of the practice at Northeastern University School of Journalism and an investigative reporter at WCVB-Boston, and John Wihbey, assistant professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University and a Research Associate at the Shorenstein Center

Doom and Gloom: The Role of the Media in Public Disengagement on Climate Change
May 29, 2018
By Elizabeth Arnold, Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Spring 2018, and Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Alaska

Campaign 2018: Improving Cyber Literacy in Political Campaigns
May 7, 2018
By Donna Brazile, Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Fall 2017
Former Democratic National Committee interim chair and adjunct professor at Georgetown University

“Like They’ve Never, Ever Seen in This Country”? Political Interest and Voter Engagement in 2016
Public Opinion Quarterly, March 2018
By Markus Prior, fall 2016 Joan Shorenstein Fellow and Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and Lori D. Bougher of Princeton University

Report on Network Sunday Morning Talk Show Content and Ratings, Comparing 1983, 1999, and 2015
September 6, 2017
By Matthew A. Baum, Kalb Professor of Global Communication

Snake and Stranger: Media Coverage of Muslims and Refugee Policy
June 22, 2017
By Meighan Stone, Entrepreneurship Fellow, Spring 2017, and former president of the Malala Fund

In Search of Unbiased Reporting in Light of Brexit, Trump and Other Reporting Challenges in the UK and US
June 13, 2017
Helen Boaden, Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Spring 2017, and former BBC News and BBC Radio director

News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days
May 18, 2017
By Thomas E. Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press