Knight Foundation Hires Online News Vet Kebbel

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By: Miki Johnson

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has hired Gary Kebbel as its journalism initiatives program officer.

Kebbel will help the foundation, which provides fellowships for mid-career journalism education as well as funding for community improvement and other projects, identify “people, processes and projects” that fit with the organization’s goals.

The foundation’s director of journalism initiatives, Eric Newton, said in a press release that Kebbel’s extensive background in online and new media made him an ideal candidate for the position. Kebbel most recently helped Education Week’s Web site, Edweek.org, switch from a free to paid subscription format. As news director at America Online, he trained and directed the team that developed AOL News into one of the world’s largest online news sites. Before that he helped create USAToday.com and Newsweek.com, and was a home page editor at Washingtonpost.com.

Kebbel also is an adjunct instructor of online journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. As a 2005 Fulbright Senior Specialist in online journalism, Kebbel trained officers at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute to effectively use new media in public diplomacy.

The former USA Today graphics editor holds two master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, one in journalism and one in political science, as well as a third master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America. Kebbel holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.

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