Jim Brady

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

Brady is a speaker at the 25th ISOJ, happening from April 12 – 13, 2024, both online and in person at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jim BradyJim Brady is the vice president of Journalism for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Jim, 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 bootstrapping a company that built and sold local news sites in three cities.

At Knight, Jim leads the grantmaking efforts for the Foundation’s journalism program to help support more informed and engaged communities. Before his appointment at Knight, Jim 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.

Prior to Spirited Media, Jim held a wide range of media executive roles, including executive editor of washingtonpost.com, editor in chief of Digital First Media, Head of News and Sports for America Online and public editor for ESPN. He was also on washingtonpost.com’s launch team in 1996.

Jim has spent 35 years in journalism, 28 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 distinctive voice, a focus on mobile and a revenue model based on events and membership. 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 Jim’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.

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 oversaw 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.

Jim 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 American Press Institute and the National Press Foundation and is a past board member of the NewsMedia Alliance and Local Media Association and past 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.