American Public Media (APM) has named Craig Helmstetter managing partner of the APM Research Lab and Analyst Group. The group is a new initiative from APM, and staff will engage in data analysis and statistics to bolster APM as well as Minnesota Public Radio’s (MPR) journalism.
“The idea is to deepen our understanding of important issues through sound, credible research and analysis,” Helmstetter tells Fishbowl. “That could range from conducting literature reviews to analyzing existing data to collecting new data. We also anticipate promoting use of the information through a variety of platforms ranging from in-person forums to special reports and social media.”
What does that look like in practice? Helmstetter told Fishbowl, “Let’s say the newsroom is anticipating a series on a topic like evolving workforce needs or early childhood development or prison reform. They may call on us to develop some white papers that can inform that reporting. Depending on the topic and type of information that is already available, we may be summarizing existing academic or professional research. In other cases, we may be analyzing Census data or conducting focus groups or surveys of our own.” It’s a really useful service for busy, overworked newsrooms to draw on.
Helmstetter arrives from research firm Wilder Research, where he was most recently senior research manager. Before then, he had been program evaluator at the Minnesota Legislative Auditors Office. “APM has become an important part of our nation’s ‘informational infrastructure,'” he said in a statement. “I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to add to that legacy.”
American Public Media distributes more than 20 shows, including A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace and The Splendid Table and is the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio.