John Bracken to Direct Knight Foundation’s Digital Media Grants

MIAMI – John Bracken, an expert in online innovation and social entrepreneurship, has joined the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to direct grantmaking in digital media.

He will lead the foundation’s Knight News Challenge, an international contest to find innovative ideas that use digital platforms to help inform local communities.

“John is already a leading digital media grant maker,” said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation’s journalism program. “His work will only grow in impact as all news organizations seek to invent or reinvent themselves for the digital age.”

“In a world of constant technological and social change, it’s essential that we fund a wide range of experiments that will help point the way we will share and use information in this democracy,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.  “Only by intense experimentation and staying open to new trends and ideas can we hope to sustainably provide communities with the information they need to function in an open society.”

Previously, Bracken served as a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he managed investments in technology and innovation and global Internet freedom, and worked to strengthen nonprofit start-ups. He also has worked with the Ford Foundation as a program associate in media policy and technology, and analyzed the social and policy impact of the Internet for the Center for Media Education.

“Throughout my career, I’ve strived to maximize the potential of the Internet for improving society,” said Bracken.  “I can’t imagine a more exciting place than Knight Foundation to continue that work.”

A frequent speaker on new media, Bracken has a master’s from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.  He was a 2008-09 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and blogs on media and technology issues at

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation,
305-908-2677; [email protected]