MDC’s President Padrón Named Commissioner of Knight Foundation Initiative on Trust, Media and Democracy

MIAMI – Sept. 27, 2017Miami Dade College’s (MDC) President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, will serve as commissioner for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s initiative to support the role of strong, trusted journalism as essential to a healthy democracy.

The initiative is anchored by the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, a panel of top thinkers and doers from diverse backgrounds committed to creating more informed and engaged communities. This nonpartisan commission will explore causes for the erosion of trust in democratic institutions, in particular, the press. It will also identify new thinking and solutions around rebuilding trust.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the Knight Commission that aims to bring communities and journalists closer together, and build a strong future for journalism,” said MDC’s President Padrón.

The initiative also includes the Knight Prototype Fund, which fosters accurate information in media and announced a new round of winners in June 2017, and Newsmatch, a partnership with Democracy Fund to support nonprofit news and investigative news outlets with matching grants during the end-of-year giving period; Newsmatch was initially launched by Knight in December 2016. Knight plans to build on the initiative further with the help of the commission and other partners.

“The internet is potentially the greatest democratizing tool in history, but it is also democracy’s greatest challenge,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president. “By offering access to information that can support any position and confirm any bias, the internet has eroded trust in the everyday facts we once shared. This initiative aims to help society grapple with that challenge. Based on the way humanity has grappled with similar disruptions in the past, I’m optimistic.”

Combining big picture thinking with immediate action, the initiative also features more than $2.5 million in new funding for projects aimed at improving trust in news and building stronger connections between journalists and their audiences. 

The commission will be meeting in locations across the country during the next year. Commissioners come from a range of backgrounds and expertise, and their work will last just over a year.

The commission members include: Co-Chairs: Tony Marx, President, The New York Public Library; Jamie Woodson, executive chairman and CEO State Collaborative On Reforming Education; Commissioners include: Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer, FRONTLINE PBS; Meredith Artley, senior vice president and editor-in-chief, CNN Digital; Perry Chen, founder and chairman, Kickstarter; Nonny De La Peña, founder and CEO, Emblematic Group; Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Public Relations; Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini senior fellow and Mosbacher director, Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; Theaster Gates, founder, Rebuild Foundation; Richard Gingras, vice president, news, Google; Sean Gourley, CEO, Primer; Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania; Shani Hilton, head of US news, Buzzfeed; Alberto Ibargüen, president, Knight Foundation; Walter Isaacson, president and CEO, The Aspen Institute; Fisk Johnson, executive chairman and CEO, S.C. Johnson; Joanne Lipman, chief content officer, Gannett and editor-in-chief, USA TODAY; Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology; Eduardo J. Padrón, president, Miami Dade College; Eduardo Peñalver, Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law, Cornell Law School; Deb Roy, director, Laboratory for Social Machines and professor of media arts and sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab; Chris Ruddy, founder, NewsMax; John Thornton, founder, Texas Tribune; Anthea Watson Strong, product manager for news, Facebook; Jonathan Zittrain, faculty director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Harvard University.