Jim Brady

Vice President of Journalism, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jim Brady@jimbrady
Jim Brady is the Vice President of Journalism for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Brady, who joined Knight in August 2021, is a longtime digital media innovator whose experience ranges from leading major brands such as washingtonpost.com and Digital First Media to starting a company that built and sold local news sites in three cities.
Before his appointment at Knight, Brady served as CEO of Spirited Media, a consulting firm which launched and operated local news sites Billy Penn in Philadelphia, The Incline in Pittsburgh and Denverite in Denver before selling the businesses in 2019.
Prior to Spirited Media, Brady held a wide range of media executive roles, including Executive Editor of washingtonpost.com, Editor in Chief of Digital First Media, General Manager of TBD, Head of News and Sports for America Online and in various other roles. He also served as ESPN’s public editor from 2015-18.
Brady has spent 34 years in journalism, almost 27 of those in digital. He’s worked for legacy operations, digital-only companies and started his own company. He’s worked in print, broadcast and startup operations. He’s led editorial, product, technology and revenue teams. He’s been an intrapreneur and entrepreneur. He’s been through three mergers, three sales, two bankruptcies and dozens of reorganizations.
Before turning to consulting, Spirited’s well-regarded local sites provided traditional news coverage, but separated themselves with a more distinctive voice, strong curation model and a focus on mobile. In 2019, Spirited Media sold Denverite to Colorado Public Radio, The Incline to digital startup Whereby.us and Billy Penn to WHYY, Philadelphia’s iconic public radio station.
During Brady’s five-year tenure as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, the site won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, an Editor & Publisher award for Best Overall Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site, two Digital Edge awards for Best Overall News Site, a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, two Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Non-Broadcast Affiliated Web Site, and more than 100 White House News Photographers video awards. Brady was also on the original launch team of washingtonpost.com, serving as sports editor and then assistant managing editor for news from 1995 to 1999.
At Digital First Media, Brady was responsible for the overall strategy and management of the 75 daily newspapers, 292 non-daily publications and 341 online sites owned by Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group. He also built and managed the company’s Thunderdome unit, which was comprised of more than 50 digitally focused journalists charged with providing cutting-edge national content for DFM’s local properties.
During his time at AOL, Brady was in charge of the service’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election. In addition to his news role at AOL, Brady also served as Executive Director, Editorial Operations and Vice President, Production & Operations.
At TBD, Brady was charged with launching a new type of local digital news operation, one focused on building deeper relationships with consumers via a strong voice, heavy curation and personalized geographic content. In addition to overseeing the digital operation, Brady also ran NewsChannel8, Washington’s 24/7 local news cable television station.
In addition to these management positions, Brady has consulted work at Graham Media Group, WBEZ, Automattic/WordPress, The Guardian, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC and Politico.
Brady is a Past President of the Online News Association, and, in 2017, received the Rich Jaroslovsky Award for his long service to ONA. He currently serves on the boards of the News Media Alliance, American Press Institute and National Press Foundation and spend four years as a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. He is also a two-time judge of the Pulitzer Prizes.
Brady earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from The American University in 1989, and 21 years later, won the school’s Alumni Achievement Award.
Born in New York City and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Brady lives with his wife, Joan, in the Washington D.C. area. They are inveterate road trippers, having done three 48-state tours of the United States with their dogs, the latter chronicled on the Fred and Hank Mark America blog. Brady also holds out hope that, someday, the Jets, Mets or Knicks will bring him some joy.

Jim Brady

CEO, Spirited Media

(Video of Brady’s presentation at ISOJ2019 is below his bio, along with an article from the ISOJ team)

Jim Brady@jimbrady
Jim Brady is the CEO of Spirited Media, which operates local news sites Billy Penn in Philadelphia, The Incline in Pittsburgh and Denverite in Denver. Before starting his own company, Jim’s 23-plus years in digital journalism included stints as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, editor in chief at Digital First Media, head of news and sports for America Online, general manager at TBD and other media management roles. Jim also recently completed a two-year term as public editor of ESPN.

During his career, Jim has seen journalism from all angles. He’s worked in legacy newsrooms, digital-only companies and pure startups. He’s worked in newsrooms, on product and as a business leader. And he’s served in roles ranging from cub reporter to CEO.

During Jim’s tenure at washingtonpost.com, the site won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, an Editor & Publisher award for Best Overall Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site, two Digital Edge awards for Best Overall News Site, a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, two Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Non-Broadcast Affiliated Web Site, and more than 100 White House News Photographers video awards. Jim was also on the original launch team of washingtonpost.com, serving as sports editor and then assistant managing editor for news from 1995 to 1999.

At Digital First Media, Jim was responsible for the overall strategy and management of the 75 daily newspapers, 292 non-daily publications and 341 online sites owned by Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group. He also built and managed the company’s Thunderdome unit, which was comprised of more than 50 digitally focused journalists charged with providing cutting-edge national content for DFM’s local properties.

During his time at AOL, Jim was in charge of the service’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election. In addition to his news role at AOL, Jim also served as Executive Director, Editorial Operations and Vice President, Production & Operations.

At TBD, Jim was charged with launching a new type of local digital news operation, one focused on building deeper relationships with consumers via a strong voice, heavy curation and personalized geographic content. In addition to overseeing the digital operation, Jim also ran NewsChannel8, Washington’s 24/7 local news cable television station.

In addition to these management positions, Jim has also done long-term consulting work at The Guardian, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC and Politico.

Jim is a Past President of the Online News Association, and, in 2017, received the RichJaroslovsky Awardfor his long service to ONA. He currentlyserves on the boards of the American Press Institute, National Press Foundationand the Local Media Associationand recently concluded a four-year term as a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. He is also a two-time judge of the Pulitzer Prizes.

Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from The American University in 1989, and 21 years later, won the school’s Alumni Achievement Award.

Born in New York City and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Brady lives with his wife, Joan, in Great Falls, Va. We are inveterate road trippers, having done two 48-state tours of the United States with our dogs, the latter chronicled on our trip blog. Jim also holds out hope that, someday, the Jets, Mets or Knicks will bring him some joy.

Brady was part of the panel “Saving local news in the U.S.: Can we have sustainable online journalism in local markets?” at ISOJ 2019.

Read the story covering Brady’s panel here.


Jim Brady

Founder and CEO, Spirited Media (BillyPenn.com & TheIncline.com)

Jim BradyTwitter: @jimbrady
Jim Brady is the CEO of Spirited Media, which operates Billy Penn in Philadelphia and The Incline in Pittsburgh. Before entering the pure startup world, Jim served as Executive Editor of washingtonpost.com, Editor-in-Chief of Digital First Media, General Manager of TBD and as head of News and Sports for America Online. Jim also currently serves as the public editor of ESPN.

During Jim’s tenure at washingtonpost.com, the site won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, an Editor & Publisher award for Best Overall Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site, two Digital Edge awards for Best Overall News Site, a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, two Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Non-Broadcast Affiliated Web Site, and more than 100 White House News Photographers video awards. Jim was also on the original launch team of washingtonpost.com, serving as Sports Editor and then Assistant Managing Editor for news from 1995 to 1999. 

Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from The American University in 1989. He is a past President and former board member of the Online News Association, and serves on the board of the American Press Institute.

Born in New York City and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Brady lives with his wife, Joan, in Great Falls, Va.

Brady is a panelist for “News startups and new business models: Innovation in the search of sustainability” at ISOJ 2017 (April 22 at 5 p.m.)

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