With a mission of developing research, project, curriculum and funding partnerships, the advisory committee will also serve as ambassadors and advisors for the activities and programs of the Media Innovation Center.
Visuals Editor, NPR
Brian Boyer was the visuals editor at NPR. Before NPR, he interned with ProPublica and then founded the news applications team at the Chicago Tribune. He was one of the first programmers to receive a Knight News Challenge-funded scholarship to study journalism at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications. He is currently on vacation.
CEO, Spirited Media
Jim Brady is the CEO of Spirited Media, which operates the Philadelphia-based mobile news platform Billy Penn. He is also currently serving as the public editor for ESPN. Before launching Billy Penn, Jim also served as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, editor in chief of Digital First Media, general manager of TBD.com and programming director of news & sports for America Online. He is a past president of the Online News Association, and he also served on the boards of the American Society for News Editors and National Press Foundation.
Senior Director - Alpha Group, Advance
In the last decade, David Cohn has been at the forefront of innovation in journalism. During his career, he has worked on some of the first experiments in distributed reporting, social journalism, citizen journalism and structured journalism. In 2008, he created the first platform to crowdfund journalism. In 2010, he was named one of the “Ten Under 30” by Folio magazine. In 2013, he was awarded the Alumni Innovation Award from Columbia Journalism School.
Today, he is a senior director at Advance Digital’s Alpha Group, which does in-house incubation for the media organization. This comes on the heels of his time as an executive producer at AJ Plus, part of Al Jazeera’s research and development team, leading efforts to turn a broadcast organization into a digital operation.
Before that, he was the chief content officer of Circa, a startup redefining how news is consumed on the mobile phone. Circa was one of the first organizations to experiment with atomized news structures or “object-oriented journalism.”
David Cohn has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times. He has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism and was a fellow at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. He serves on the board of several journalism organizations including the Global Editors Network, The San Francisco Public Press and the Online News Association. He has been a contributing editor at NewsTrust.net, a founding editor of Broowaha and an advisor to many new media projects from OffTheBus.net and Beatblogging.org.
Vice President of Digital Content and Strategy, Questex
Anthony DeBarros hitched his career wagon to data journalism after realizing he could earn a living while pursuing two loves: storytelling and technology. A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, he worked briefly as a radio broadcaster before joining Gannett’s Poughkeepsie Journal as a reporter, covering everything from zoning board hearings to local bands. In 1997, a summer loan to USA TODAY led to 16 years working with, and eventually leading, the newspaper’s data journalism team. In 2013, he joined Gannett Digital to head up interactive applications for elections, CMS integrations, and USA TODAY investigative projects. His team, with The Des Moines Register, built Harvest of Change, the first virtual reality journalism project that included 360° video in a virtual environment. In 2015, after 27 years with Gannett, he joined the nonprofit Investigative Reporters and Editors to head up product and business development for DocumentCloud, the platform journalists use to analyze and publish primary source documents. Currently, he is vice president of digital content and strategy for Questex, a B2B publishing and events company, and is writing a book on using SQL to dig into data. His teams’ work has been recognized nationally by the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, Edward R. Murrow Awards, National Press Foundation and the Education Writers Association.
Executive Director, West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Scott Finn leads West Virginia Public Broadcasting, an indispensable resource for news, education and economic development whose motto is, “Telling West Virginia’s Story.”
Under Finn’s leadership, WVPB just completed a record fundraising year and has won numerous regional and national journalism awards. WVPB has also launched “The West Virginia Channel” on television and quadrupled visitors to its website in the last three years.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Washington Post
Jeremy Gilbert is director of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post, leading the newsroom to identify, create and execute unique digital products and storytelling experiences. He works closely with The Post’s engineering, product design, graphics, audience, analytics and advertising teams.
In this role, Gilbert has reimagined election night experiences, created The Post’s first virtual reality stories, built a freelance network that changes how The Post covers national stories and launched a new leadership vertical.
Previously, Gilbert led digital strategy at National Geographic, taught journalism at Northwestern University and worked at The Poynter Institute. Throughout his career, he has alternated between journalism and digital design.
He graduated with a bachelors and masters from Northwestern and currently lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their two young boys.
Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune
Emily Ramshaw is editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, The Tribune has won six national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE’s Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before becoming one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound, uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled and investigated a series of deadly transplants where patients received rabies-tainted organs. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 Star Reporter of the Year.
Documentary Maker/Media Artist
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an award-winning documentary maker and media artist who works across mediums — non-linear and linear — to tell nonfiction stories for audiences on multiple platforms. Sheldon received a 2013 Peabody Award, a 2014 World Press Photo Multimedia Award, and a 2014 News & Documentary Emmy nomination for her interactive documentary “Hollow,” which examines the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of Appalachians. She is currently in production on “Rescue Breath,” a feature-length documentary about individuals rediscovering their lives after opioid addiction. She is the co-creator of “She Does,” a bi-weekly audio documentary series that documents creative women’s journeys. In 2016, she was named one of Chicken & Egg’s “Breakthrough Filmmakers,” and in 2013, was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and a Future of Storytelling Fellow. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Mashable, The Atlantic, LA Times, Huffington Post, and The Bitter Southerner. Sheldon is a founding member of All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective.
Things Editor, Quartz
Sarah Slobin is currently the things editor at Quartz. Previously she worked as a visual editor for The Wall Street Journal, was the infographics director for Fortune magazine, and an assistant editor in the graphics department for The New York Times. Slobin was also the College of Media's first Innovator-in-Residence.
Futurist, Author and Founder of The Future Today Institute
Amy Webb is an author, futurist and CEO of the Future Today Institute, a leading future forecasting and strategy firm that researches technology and answers “What’s the future of X?” for a global client base, which includes government agencies, research universities, Fortune 500 companies and startups. Her future forecasting work has been featured in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, NPR and CNN and has been cited in a number of academic papers. She was a 2014-15 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and her research on the future of postsecondary education reform received a national Sigma Delta Chi award. Webb is an Adjunct Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, where she teaches a course of forecasting the future of technology, and a Lecturer on the future of media at Columbia University. She was a Delegate on the former U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission and served on the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Libraries, where she worked with FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and others on the future of libraries. In 2013, she published "Data, A Love Story" (Dutton/Penguin), a bestselling memoir about finding love via algorithms. Her TED talk about "Data" has been viewed close to 5 million times and has been translated into 31 languages. "Data" is being adapted as a feature film, which is currently in production. Her next book, "The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream" is about how to predict technological change –– and what to do about it in the present (PublicAffairs, December 2016). Webb originally attended the Jacobs School of Music to study classical clarinet. She holds a B.A. in political science and economics from Indiana University and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Derek Willis is a news applications developer at ProPublica focusing on politics and elections. He previously worked as a developer and reporter at The New York Times, a database editor at The Washington Post and at the Center for Public Integrity and Congressional Quarterly. He began his journalism career at The Palm Beach Post. He is a co-founder of OpenElections, a project to collect and publish election results from all 50 states.
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