At Knight Media Forum, the focus is strengthening local news and communities

The forum’s main sessions will be livestreamed Feb. 20-21 at

At a time when trust in media, and institutions in general, is dangerously low, how can news organizations work to rebuild it? What effect does the trend have on people’s engagement in solving local issues? 

Starting Tuesday morning Feb. 20, the Knight Media Forum will tackle these topics and more, as it gathers leaders in philanthropy, media and technology to look at ways to strengthen both local news and communities. The event will be streamed online, and features a range of speakers including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who recently piloted the news service WikiTribune, and former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer, who will address how our society can navigate the information overload that surrounds us.

Woven throughout the sessions is a prompt toward action, as panelists consider how funders and leaders can work to ensure communities are getting the information they need to make decisions, and galvanize people around solutions.

The livestream kicks off at 9:15 a.m. EST Tuesday with a conversation between members of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy. Under the Aspen Institute, the blue-ribbon panel is looking at the media landscape around the country, starting from the premise that without trust, our democracy cannot function. With members ranging from a PBS producer to Facebook’s product manager for news, the commission will share what it has learned and gather input for its final recommendations. 

The role of technology and what it means for the future of communities will be front and center too. Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, will explore the difficult choices we face as artificial intelligence and algorithms play an increasingly important role in our lives, and how people can and must shape their roles in society. Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, will talk about the latest tech trends, what to expect in coming years, and how communities might be able to leverage innovation for good. An additional panel will look at how communities might restore respectful dialogue – both online and in person – in this time of partisanship.

A Wednesday morning panel will look at the ways foundations are investing in local news, to ensure that both rural and urban communities are getting the information they need to make important decisions. The support takes many forms, from helping nonprofit news sites like The Texas Tribune get off the ground, to enabling small newsrooms to come together with a solutions journalism focus, as the LOR Foundation did in the Western U.S.

The livestream schedule is below. You can join the conversation online with #infoneeds, and watch live from

Tues., Feb. 20, 2018

9:15 A.M.: WELCOME

Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO, Knight Foundation


Moderator, Jennifer Preston, VP/Journalism at Knight Foundation.

Panel: Co-Chair Tony Marx, president and CEO, The New York Public Library and Commission members Mizell Stewart III, vice president, news and operations, Gannett/USA TODAY Network, Charles Sykes, Talk-show host and author, MSNBC contributor, Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology, Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer, Frontline PBS, and Anthea Watson Strong, product manager for news, Facebook. Moderator, Jennifer Preston, VP/Journalism at Knight Foundation.


Introduction: Emmett Carson, president and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Speaker: Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media 


Moderator: Sam Gill, vice president, communities and impact, Knight Foundation

Panelists: Emily May, co-founder and executive director, Hollaback, Rashad Robinson, executive director, Color Of Change, Frank Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow and Mosbacher Director, Center of Democracy, Stanford University, Lisa Adkins, president and CEO, Blue Grass Community Foundation

4:15 – 5:15 P.M.: OVERLOAD

Introduction: Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO, Knight Foundation

Speaker: Bob Schieffer, former CBS news anchor and host of “Face the Nation”

Wed., Feb. 21, 2018

8:30 – 9:45 A.M.: WHAT’S NEW; WHAT’S NEXT

Amy Webb, founder and CEO, Future Today Institute 


Moderator: Lilly Weinberg, Community Foundations Program Director, Knight Foundation

Panelists: John Thornton, Texas Tribune, LaMonte Guillory, chief communications officer, LOR Foundation, Anne Galloway, founder and editor, VTDigger, Christopher Kaufman-Ilstrup, chief operating officer, VTDigger, David Haas, vice chair, Wyncote Foundation and Sandra Clark, vice president of news and civic dialogue, WHYY

12:30 – 2 P.M.: 

Introduction and conversation: Helene Gayle, president and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust 

Speaker: Jimmy Wales, co-founder, Wikipedia and founder, WikiTribune

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