Today's podcast interview is with Alberto Ibarguen, the CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Foundation has its roots in the newspaper business and today makes grants that transform journalism and communities. Alberto was publisher of the Miami Herald before he joined the foundation in 2005.
During the interview, Alberto discusses the foundation's effort to hire an "online community manager", why one of the Knight Foundation's major projects might make some people "vomit on the table" (and why he's OK with that), how the foundation is planning on funding "wonderful strangeness", and the promise of "prize philanthropy".
Sean Stannard-Stockton: Hello and welcome to the Tactical Philanthropy podcast. I'm Sean Stannard-Stockton, author of the Tactical Philanthropy Blog and Principal and Director of the Tactical Philanthropy at Ensemble Capital. My guest today is Alberto Ibarguen. Alberto is CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Foundation has its roots in the newspaper business and today makes grants that transform journalism and communities. Alberto was publisher of the Miami Herald before he joined the foundation in 2005. Alberto thanks so much for joining us.
Alberto: I'm glad to be here, thanks.
Sean: You know at the Council on Foundations community foundation meeting down in San Francisco this year and I spoke on the morphing media panel. And I forget who it was, but somebody wrote an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle that day talking about community foundations' roll in community news reporting.
Alberto: Right. That was Dan Gillmor.
Sean: Yeah. Right
Alberto: In the San Francisco - and I spoke the next day at the lunch and I used part of his column and that's when I was, actually, sort of talking slightly extemporaneously and - this is a true story. I actually had a speech written for the lunch and I actually got bored with my own speech and I thought this is ridiculous I don't want to talk about this. I want to talk about information in community and that's when I got off on that tangent and then in the course of talking I said, "You guys probably aren't involved in this but none of you are involved in it, even though it is clearly a core need of your community. Maybe you're not involved because you're scared or maybe you're not involved because you don't know enough about media."
So here's what we'll do. We'll invite all you people down to Miami in February, which got some acceptance. And we'll hold an information seminar. So actually, the seminar we're holding on February 20th is cosponsored by the Council on Foundations and ourselves. And the idea is to bring these 250 people, both executives of community foundations and board members, and have them first of all accept that it's a core need and second of all consider whether this is a roll they would like to play. And if is, we're willing to match them.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.