Knight Foundation seeks an experienced and proven innovator to lead its journalism program, the foundation’s signature national program. With an annual grant-making budget of approximately $35 million, the portfolio has focused on driving the adoption of technology and sustainable solutions to ensure a future for independent local reporting and reliable news and information.

After a decade of investment in technology and media experimentation, including the launch of the Knight News Challenge, the foundation’s strategic focus evolved to focus on the loss of local news sources in communities across the country, the lack of trust in journalism and the necessary digital transformation and sustainability of local news organizations.

In 2018, Knight Foundation made a landmark, five-year $300 million commitment to local news and information, a doubling of the foundation’s investment in journalism over that time. Importantly, Knight is increasingly focused on finding and supporting sustainable businesses that can be local or regional independent journalistic enterprises.

The foundation seeks an entrepreneurial leader, with a passion for identifying catalytic investment opportunities that offer transformational change. This demands openness to new ways that journalists inform communities, and the rapidly changing ways people produce, distribute and consume information. As a matter of course, Knight Foundation applies an equity and inclusion lens to investments across the portfolio.

THE FOUNDATION

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports an effective democracy through informed and engaged communities. The foundation, headquartered in Miami, continues the legacy of John S. and James L. Knight, the brothers who built one of the largest and most commercially successful newspaper companies in America in the 20th century.

The Knights believed that a well-informed community could best “determine its own true interests” and was essential to a well-functioning, representative democracy. They pursued those beliefs and were known for their journalistic principles, integrity, respect for others and openness to the application of evolving media technology.

Today, Knight Foundation is an innovative, fast-paced, transformational social investor willing to fund experiments as well as institutional programs. With an endowment of approximately $2.3 billion and annual grants of about $135 million in journalism, the arts, research, and the communities where the Knight brothers worked, Knight Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on impact.

Additional information about the foundation and its journalism program are further described on our website in our Statement of Strategy.

KNIGHT’S JOURNALISM PROGRAM

Knight Foundation supports the First Amendment and the crucial role of journalism in a democracy to inform the community. Knight staff and leadership see themselves as social investors. The ideal candidate is strategic and focused on delivering a social, sustainable return on Knight’s investment. A representative sample of those efforts include:

  • First Amendment and Free Expression: Efforts to safeguard press freedom and champion free speech. Key investments include the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the litigation endowment at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
  • Local Media: Models and methods that advance the practice of journalism, build trust, reach new and diverse audiences, and generate revenue to ensure a sustainable future. Investments include the American Journalism Project, the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, Report for America, the Solutions Journalism Network and both Frontline and ProPublica’s collaborative local reporting. The foundation has sought to help nonprofit journalism and local digital news sites achieve revenue growth through organizations like the Institute for Nonprofit News, News Revenue Hub, NewsMatch and LION publishers.
  • Talent and Leadership: Development of a diverse and inclusive network of journalists, technologists and news leaders accelerating change. Investments include the Maynard Institute, Temple University and numerous other training and leadership programs for journalists and news leaders from print, broadcast and online media.
  • Technology Innovation: Application of technology that responds to the changing ways people consume news and information. We invest in efforts that combat misinformation and increase access to accurate, reliable information in a rapidly changing media ecosystem. Investments include numerous startups as well as institutions like the Media Lab at MIT and the Berkman-Klein Center at Harvard Law School.

THE POSITION

This position reports to the senior vice president and chief program officer with a strong relationship to the CEO of the foundation. The vice president/journalism serves as an officer of the corporation and an active member of Knight’s executive committee. The position is located at Knight’s Miami headquarters.

The vice president leads a team of program staff, also located in Miami, and provides the vision, creation, execution and measurement of the program’s strategy and initiatives.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Actively collaborate with the Chief Programming Officer and the President in the development of a strategy for the Journalism Program of the foundation.
  • Lead the journalism team in the planning, design, development, implementation and assessment of the journalism grant-making strategy.
  • Apply smart business principles to identify sustainable investments that advance impact.
  • Aggressively assess the role of digital technology to identify and support durable new approaches to engaging current and emerging audiences in quality, independent news and information.
  • Work with Knight’s learning and impact team to monitor and assess the program’s strategies; work with communications to develop the program narrative.
  • Serve as an officer of the corporation and exercise accountability and fiduciary oversight in making decisions for the Foundation.

LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be committed to the journalism values of ethical and independent journalism that the Knight brothers espoused.
  • Have a track record of successful leadership of organizations, whether not-for-profit or for-profit, with executive responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and commitment to journalism as a vehicle of reliable information necessary for an informed citizenry in a democracy.
  • Be strongly sustainability-oriented; spot and leverage key trends for impact.
  • Expertly interpret and apply an understanding of digital technology to program opportunities.
  • Drive results.
  • Work in collaborative, inclusive ways across the organization.
  • Communicate effectively, orally and in writing.

For more information about Knight Foundation, please visit kf.org.

Please send your résumé and cover letter to vpjournalism@kf.org and include ‘VP Journalism at KF’ in the subject line.

Knight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

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