Tom Stites

Tom Stites
Tom Stites (photo by Nancy Pierce)

Tom is founder and president of the Banyan Project, which aims to strengthen democracy by pioneering a sustainable and easily replicable business model for Web journalism that serves the broad public of everyday citizens and engages their civic energy.

As a 2010-11 fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, Tom shaped the business plan for Banyan’s distinctive reader-owned co-op business model; with the the support of the National Cooperative Business Association he is now working with community leaders in Haverhill, Mass., to launch a pilot site. He also chairs the Banyan Publishing Corp. Board of Directors.

Tom is a seasoned editor and entrepreneur with a passion for strengthening journalism and democracy. As an editor he has supervised reporting that has won an array of major journalism awards including the Pulitzer Prize; as an entrepreneur he has been the founding publisher of two print magazines and three Web publications in addition to Banyan. His writings and speeches on strengthening democracy and on journalism have won a respectful following.

Positions Tom has held include national correspondent, national editor, and associate managing editor for project reporting at The Chicago Tribune; night national editor of The New York Times, and managing editor of The Kansas City Times. He later served for a decade as the editor and publisher of UU World, the national magazine of the Unitarian Universalist religious denomination, then as a consulting editor for the Center for Public Integrity.

Tom grew up in Kansas City and attended Williams College. He has taught in the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and conducted seminars at several journalism schools. In 2006 he was a Resident Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, where did research on power and the conscience.

See Tom’s full resume. Contact him at

Selected Publications and Speeches—Journalism and Democracy

Selected Publications and Speeches—Other Topics


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The Banyan Project is a nonprofit organization founded from the thinking of 28 senior journalists, academics, Web developers, sociologists and researchers, business and financial strategists, and advocates for strengthening democracy brought together by Tom Stites. Members of this Board of Advisors are listed below; click on names to see bios.

Stites shaped Banyan's model as a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He is now helping a committee of community leaders who are organizing Haverhill Matters, the nation's first community Web news co-op in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Read more about Banyan Project.