Today, Knight Foundation is announcing two new arrivals, and an important new position.
Michael Maness will become vice president of the Journalism and Media Innovation program. Maness comes to Knight after more than three years as Gannett’s vice president of innovation and design. At Gannett, he launched multiple new brands, local websites and developed the industry's first daily video newscast on the Web done without a television partner. He was also named to the Newspaper Association of America's list of "20 under 40."
He will lead Knight's media innovation efforts - a $100 million initiative over the last five years - which include projects in national media policy, technology innovation, public media transformation and the evolution of the World Wide Web. Programs such as the Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest, have to date spawned hundreds of community media experiments and other projects.
“Michael Maness has led innovation at one of the largest media companies in the country. He has a sense of what’s next and what innovations can survive in the marketplace. He has made a career of both being open to innovation and tough-minded about learning, the perfect combination for our program.”
Also joining Knight today is Rishi S. Jaitly, a former Google executive and social entrepreneur who will be Knight's Detroit program director. Knight's strategy there is focused on harnessing the community's creative energy to spur its transformation. Success will require partnerships, and Jaitly has experience bringing partners to the table. As founder of Michigan Corps, a local and global network of leaders advancing education and entrepreneurship in Michigan, he assembled a group of “founding corps members” that included Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt; CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Skoll Global Threats Fund President Dr. Larry Brilliant; and Sun Microsystems Founder Scott McNealy.
Prior to that, as head of government affairs and public-private partnerships for Google in India, he successfully convinced the government of Pakistan to end its nationwide block of Blogger and YouTube and the government of Bangladesh to end its nationwide block of YouTube.
Last but not least, we are announcing the creation of a new and important position at Knight: Eric Newton has been promoted to the new post of senior adviser to the president. In this role, Newton will help pursue strategic partnerships and serve as a magnet for new ideas across all foundation programs.
“Good foundations do more than make grants,” Newton said in today's release, “and I’m excited about helping Knight and journalism in new ways, through advising, strategic planning, writing, speaking, facilitating and partnering. I love to put great people together and help find new ideas that will make a difference.”
In his decade at Knight, Newton has developed some $300 million in grants to advance quality journalism, freedom of expression and media innovation worldwide.
"He has been a force in journalism, a craft he loves and has made better. His advice and counsel will continue to impact Knight Foundation’s work in these digital time."