Knight Foundation Names New VP of its Journalism and Media Innovation Program

By: Press Release

Knight Foundation has named Michael Maness vice president of its Journalism and Media Innovation program. Maness joins Knight after more than three years as Gannett’s vice president of innovation and design.

“Along with many others, we believe the future of news is digital but no one knows exactly how. Knight Foundation’s greatest contribution to this stage of development is to be open to many ideas, fund many experiments in delivering news and information to communities and be intentional about learning what works,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “Michael Maness has led innovation at one of the largest media company in the country. He has a sense of what’s next and what innovations can survive in the marketplace. He has made a career of both being open to innovation and tough-minded about learning, the perfect combination for our program.”

“Having Michael join Knight’s team is a huge win not only for the foundation, but for the future of journalism,” added Paul Steiger, a Knight Foundation trustee, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and now CEO and president of ProPublica.

“Working on innovation and design at Gannett was a great experience, and I’ll be forever grateful for it,” said Maness. “Helping lead innovation for the entire journalism and media innovation field is simply an irresistible opportunity.”

Maness will succeed Eric Newton who will become senior advisor to the president. “Knight Foundation and the journalism field have profited enormously from Eric Newton’s leadership,” said Alberto Ibargüen. “Moving forward he will play a key role in pursuing strategic partnerships and attracting new ideas” (see related release at

Maness has been vice president of innovation and design for Gannett for the past three and a half years. During his tenure, he led the creation of an innovation process based on human-centered design and launched multiple new brands. Previously, he served as vice president of strategic planning for Gannett’s newspaper division. Maness also served as a member of an advisory team, evaluating employee ideas during this time.

Prior to these positions, he helped launch and managed several local news sites across the company. During his tenure, Maness developed the industry’s first daily video newscast on the Web done without a television partner, created online marketing databases and redesigned sites that won several awards for journalism and advertising. He was named to the Newspaper Association of America’s list of “20 under 40” and was a co-winner in 2007 of the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award at Gannett.

Before joining Gannett, Maness was an analyst and media consultant, a campaign manager and a marketing account executive. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Maness has been a member of Knight Foundation’s journalism advisory committee for the past four years.

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