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 new model for Web journalism. Banyan’s mission is to help seed independent news co-ops in underserved communities across the nation and to provide them with mentorship and educational and administrative support so they can thrive and fulfill their mission of civic engagement.
Tom shaped Banyan's distinctive co-op business model as a fellow of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard; he is now working with community leaders in Haverhill, Mass., to launch a pilot site. He also chairs the Banyan Project Inc. 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 two Pulitzer Prizes; 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 International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
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 email@example.com.
Selected Publications and Speeches—Journalism and Democracy
- Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue? Keynote address, Media Giraffe Conference on the future of journalism; this July 2006 speech is still deeply pertinent.
- Might the New Web Journalism Model be Neither For-Profit nor Nonprofit? The concluding essay in series of three for Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, December 2011. No. 1: Taking Stock of the State of Web Journalism. No. 2: Layoffs and Cutbacks Lead to a New World of News Deserts.
- Changing the Game for the Future of Journalism Game-Changer Award acceptance speech, WeMedia Conference, University of Miami, March 2010.
- Editors—The Best Is Yet to Come? Essay, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, December 2008.
- How Corporate Personhood Threatens Democracy Cover essay, UU World, May/June 2003.
Selected Publications and Speeches—Other Topics
- Sitting Between the Extremes: Why a Journalist Writes Haiku Essay, UU World, Fall 2007.
- Improvisational Faith: Jazz and Unitarian Universalist Theology Cover article, UU World, September/October 2003.