Tom is founder and president of the Banyan Project, which is pioneering a sustainable and easily replicable new model for community Web journalism that’s built on the sturdy and inherently equitable base of consumer co-op ownership. Banyan’s mission is to help seed independent news co-ops in underserved communities across the nation and to support them with an array of services that are tailored to help them thrive and activate community engagement. Tom shaped Banyan’s distinctive model as a fellow of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.
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. [See links to samples, below.]
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, and he has served for more than a dozen years as consulting editor for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Perhaps most crucial to Tom’s Banyan leadership is his experience, when he was 21, as managing editor of a county seat weekly newspaper in rural Missouri.
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 he did research on power and the conscience. See Tom’s full resume. Contact him at email@example.com.
Selected Publications and Speeches
A New Business Model Emerges: Meet the Digital News Co-op: This distinctive model holds out hope in communities where other models don’t thrive because it monetizes something they don’t — readers’ hope for their community; for Nonprofit Quarterly, March 2021.
2,100 U.S. Communities Have Totally Lost News Coverage: Latest study of news deserts from UNC discovers that growth of community-level online news sites has come to a halt and that news deserts are spreading to affluent suburbs, for the Poynter Institute, June 2020.
Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue? Keynote address, Media Giraffe Conference on the future of journalism; sadly, this July 2006 speech remains 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, keynote for WeMedia Conference, University of Miami, March 2010.
How Corporate Personhood Threatens Democracy: Cover essay, UU World, May/June 2003.
Sitting Between the Extremes: Why a Journalist Writes Haiku: Essay, UU World, Fall 2007.