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 support them with an array of services that are tailored to help them thrive and activate civic engagement. Tom shaped Banyan’s distinctive co-op business 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 remains a 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 in rural Missouri. It inspired a love of community journalism that has survived all his years doing national and international news in major dailies.
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
1,300 U.S. Communities Have Totally Lost News Coverage: Final findings of UNC study also discovers ghost newspapers, online sites filling too little of the growing void, for the Poynter Institute, October 2018.
Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue? Keynote address, Media Giraffe Conference on the future of journalism; 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, WeMedia Conference, University of Miami, March 2010.
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.