Who are the new media institute's managers?
A week later, the formation of the Institute of Journalism in New Media is still sending ripples through the Philadelphia journalism community. So many questions remain as journalists wonder if and how this unique idea will shape the future of an industry in transition.
There’s still much to learn about the Institute, but at least now we know who’s who on the board that H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest chose to govern it. The Board of Managers, who have yet to hold their first meeting, consists of academics and former journalists both within and outside the Philadelphia area.
Lenfest will serve as the initial chairman of the board, and will provide $20 million for its endowment. The Philadelphia Foundation will house the three news organizations: the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com.
“You heard from Mr. Lenfest and others, [and from] the leadership of the three large newspapers that all print news media is critical but undergoing a lot of change in the digital age,” Pedro Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, said in a recent interview with Al DÍA. “To be part of such a big endeavor to ensure that our democracy continues and that independent journalism both nationally and locally is a great privilege and great opportunity, and I think we will be a great benefit to all of Philadelphia.”
Ramos will also serve as a member on the board, but added that the Philadelphia Foundation will not have anything to do with running the media company.
“Mr. Lenfest endowed the Institute for Journalism and New Media to help journalism identify sustainable models for the long-term, and also to provide a way of having extra funding for public interest journalism,” Ramos said.
David Boardman, the dean of Temple’s School of Media and Communication, told Al DÍA last week at the National Constitution Center that he felt that there is great potential for the Institute to boost local and regional journalism for the benefit of the entire country. But he emphasized that, despite their new nonprofit status, the papers will still need to turn a profit.
The formation of the Institute also will not undo the layoffs of journalists that took place at the three news organizations just last year.
“It really doesn’t fix any of the challenges short term, but I think builds the foundation for a much longer runway to reinvent their business,” Boardman said. “The company is still going to have to show a dollar of profit. It’s tragic that journalists are losing their jobs and I think the people who run PMN are determined to minimize that kind of reduction in the future.”
In addition to Boardman and Ramos, the newly formed Board is comprised of other noticeable figures from the Philadelphia area, such as Michael X. Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania; David W. Hass, vice chairman of the Wyncote Foundation; Rosalind Remer, vice provost and founding Lenfest executive director director of the Center for Cultural Partnerships at Drexel University and Leonard Tow, founder and chairman of the Tow Foundation.
Steve Coll is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of seven books of nonfiction, and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Long before the New Yorker, Coll was a reporter, foreign correspondent and senior editor at the Washington Post from 1985 and 2005. It was there that he covered Wall Street, served as the paper’s South Asia correspondent, and first international investigative correspondent in London. He served as the Post’s managing editor between 1998 and 2004.
David M. Schizer is Dean Emeritus and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics at Columbia University Law School. He is considered to be one of the nation’s leading tax law scholars, whose research also focuses on energy law and corporate governance issues.
Schizer serves on the board of Seacor Holdings Inc., an NYSE listed company, as well as on the board of the Philadelphia Media Network (PMN). Schizer served as dean from 2004 to 2014. He was the youngest dean in the Law School’s history when he began his service at the age of 35. He recruited 43 new faculty members, added a ninth floor to the main Law School building, and led a $353 million capital campaign, which represented a substantial increase over the Law School’s prior $150 million campaign.
Sarah Bartlett is the Dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY). She joined the university in 2002 as the Bloomberg Chair of Business Journalism at Baruch College and then moved to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2006, after serving on its founding curriculum committee.
Bartlett created and oversaw both the urban, business and economics reporting, and helped found the university’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media.
“I came to this project very favorably and when I met with [Lenfest] him and learned sort of the nature of what he was attempting to do I was just so impressed with his determination to keep the publications strong and understanding their role in the community,” Bartlett said.
“It was just sort of a combination of believing in tradition,” she said. “I do feel that I bring something to the party with my own background in journalism and the work that we are doing at our own school which is very much focused on business models and community journalism and accountability journalism. So all of the things that I care about and then just wanting to be helpful.”
Still in its early days, it has yet to be seen how the Institute’s untried methods will work, but Bartlett added that journalism is a great “marketplace” to try new things — especially with this exciting new experiment.