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Knight Foundation Adds Technology Leaders to Board

Tuesday, October 25, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Pool
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MIAMI – (October 25, 2011)Knight Foundation today emphasized the importance of technology and media innovation on the delivery of news and information to communities by appointing three of the nation's most influential new media leaders to its board of trustees.

Joichi Ito, the director of MIT's Media Lab, John Palfrey, professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder have been elected to join Knight's board of trustees.

Knight Foundation is the nation's foremost funder of journalism and media innovation projects.

"We believe that the free flow of information is at the core of the democratic process; you cannot effectively manage a community in a democracy without it,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. He added "The addition of these three seminal thinkers and key actors in the world of media innovation – in the search for how to inform communities in the digital age – is a giant leap forward for Knight. They will challenge and help guide us to an even more entrepreneurial approach to media innovation and engagement of people in communities.”

Joi Ito is an entrepreneur, media investor and former head of Creative Commons. He was appointed director of the MIT Media Lab in the spring of 2011. Business Week named him "one of the 25 most influential people on the web." He was an early-stage investor in Internet companies such Twitter, Flickr, and Technorati. More at

John Palfrey is the author of the several seminal books on the impact of the Internet revolution, including Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. An authority on technology and political engagement, he is faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. As a vice dean of Harvard Law School, he has led major digital initiatives at the Harvard Law School Library. More at

Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook while attending Harvard University. He first served as the site's spokesperson and later helped lead the product and user experience team. In 2007, Hughes joined Barack Obama's campaign as the Director of Online Organizing where he used social and mobile technology to empower grassroots supporters to self-organize on behalf of the President. Hughes founded Jumo, a tool to help people find high-quality non-profits. In the fall of 2011, Jumo merged with GOOD Magazine where Hughes now serves as a senior advisor. More at

The new trustees will complement a board that already includes news media leaders such as Paul Steiger, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and currently editor-in-chief of ProPublica, and James Crutchfield, a former publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal. Knight Foundation trustee Rolfe Neill is former editor and publisher of the Charlotte Observer and the foundation's CEO, Alberto Ibargüen, is a former publisher of the Miami Herald.

Knight Foundation New Media Impact

During the last five years, Knight Foundation has invested more than $100 million in a multi-faceted media innovation initiative. Its projects address media innovation on various levels, including national policy, technology, public media and the evolution of the World Wide Web. Programs such as the Knight News Challenge have, to date, spawned hundreds of community media experiments and other projects.

The foundation's impact on policy includes the sponsorship of the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy at the Aspen Institute, co-chaired by Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of geographic and local services, and by Theodore Olson, former United States Solicitor General. The Knight Commission ( made recommendations to extend broadband access to all Americans, and on media literacy.

The foundation is increasingly seeking partnerships to further the impact of its grant making: Google last year contributed $2 million to Knight's media innovation efforts. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is currently partnering with the foundation to stimulate new forms of community arts coverage. And the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) credits the foundation as an authority for its Internet policies, with a recent FCC report mentioning Knight 85 times. Knight Foundation plays a key role in Connect to Compete, a new nonprofit broadband adoption initiative announced this month by the FCC and comprised of philanthropic and business leaders.

Knight is a key partner in the Carnegie-Knight Initiative to reform journalism education in the U.S. The initiative operates at 11 leading journalism and communication schools (University of California at Berkeley, Arizona State University, University of Southern California, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Northwestern University, University of Missouri, University of Texas at Austin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Syracuse University, University of Maryland and Columbia University – as well as the Shorenstein Center at Harvard).

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is dedicated to the ideal that democracies thrive when communities are informed and engaged. The foundation supports transformational ideas that engage communities, promote quality journalism and media innovation and foster the arts.

For more on Knight Foundation, go to

The Technology Affinity Group (TAG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that promotes the power of technology to advance the goals of the philanthropic sector.