A message to staff: Jennifer Preston to leave Knight Foundation

After six years and countless contributions to the field as VP/journalism, Jennifer Preston has decided to leave the foundation early next year. She will step down effective February 1, 2021, though she will participate in the Knight Media Forum in early March.

Jennifer plans to return to the Northeast, where her husband Chris Conway is an editor at the New York Times. With deeply felt thanks, we wish her well.

Knight’s strategic plan calls for an evolving grants program that follows the development, needs and opportunities of the foundation’s communities and fields of interest. That has kept the foundation relevant and at the edge of change, always seeking to improve. And that has required nimble leadership and execution in every field we play in.

When Jennifer joined Knight Foundation, we had just gone through a significant period of tech innovation and experimentation. She directed that focus back to local newsrooms, seeking the smart application of existing technology and inclusive ways to serve their communities with trusted, accurate news and information.

Under her leadership we funded the launch of Table Stakes, to accelerate the digital transformation of news organizations, and NewsMatch, the matching gifts program that multiplied contributed revenue to non-profit newsrooms around the country. We increased our engagement with television news, continued to support dozens of journalism education and free speech programs, and worked to make diversity and inclusion integral to our journalism grantmaking.

She led the implementation of the critical first phase of Knight’s $300 million Journalism and Democracy Initiative, which saw the launch of the American Journalism Project and the expansion of key programs such as Report for America and the Solutions Journalism Network.  

She has been a force for progress in the field of news, in philanthropy and for engaged and informed communities. And she has been a friend.

Please join us in wishing Jennifer all success. A search for her successor will begin immediately. 

Alberto Ibargüen and Sam Gill