Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation

TITLE: VP of Journalism

FOCUS AREA: Journalism

CONTACT: 305-908-2600, preston@knightfoundation.org

PROFILE: Jennifer Preston is the VP of the journalism program at the Knight Foundation. Previously, she was a senior editor at the New York Times.

Her professional bio shares:

Jennifer Preston joined Knight Foundation in October 2014.
Previously, Preston was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years, with broad experience as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life. Her most recent work as an editor focused on extending digital media and social media storytelling and curation across the newsroom.
Before becoming social media editor, Preston edited four Sunday weekend sections for the Metropolitan Desk, leading several innovative data projects, including a five-year analysis of the impact of mortgage foreclosures in the New York area. She also spent nearly seven years as a senior editor in the Office of the Executive Editor, working across the newsroom on budget, career development, diversity, newsroom policies and staffing.
Earlier in her career, Preston worked as an editor and circulation marketing manager at New York Newsday, where she won numerous awards for an investigative reporting project that examined the police use of deadly force by off-duty police officers in New York. She also worked in Philadelphia as a reporter for The Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News.
Since 2007 she has taught journalism, primarily at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. She frequently speaks about the role of social media in journalism at media and technology industry conferences.
Preston is the winner of several awards for reporting, including the New York Press Club’s Gold Typewriter Award for Public Service and the New York State Bar Association’s Award for investigative reporting. In November 2013, she shared an award from El Mundo in Madrid with Anthony DeRosa, former social media editor at Reuters, for their pioneering work in using social media for journalism.
Preston graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in journalism. She was a 2010 fellow in the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University.
In 2013, she was elected to the board of directors of the Online News Association, and Fast Company named her as one of the top 25 women to follow on Twitter. She is the author of “Queen Bess,” a biography of Bess Myerson.

Her LinkedIn profile shares:

Jennifer Preston is an award-winning journalist who is joining The Knight Foundation as vice president for journalism in late October after working nearly 20 years at The New York Times. During the last 25 years, she has worked as a reporter, senior editor, social media editor, author, college lecturer and newsroom executive. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Online News Association. 

Fast Company named her one of the 25 Smartest Women to Follow on Twitter in 2013.

Jennifer became the NYT's first Social Media Editor in 2009, responsible for identifying the value of social media for Times journalism. She became an evangelist for using social media tools for reporting, real-time publishing, storytelling, engagement and audience development inside and outside the Times newsroom. 

She returned to writing in 2011, reporting on the impact of social media on politics, government and business, including the Arab Spring. She has spent the last two years focused on helping pioneer a new form of multi-media storytelling on the The Lede, combining original reporting with curated video, images and user-generated content on social platforms. The Lede's Boston Marathon coverage was one of the top ten most viewed features on nytimes.com in 2013. 

She has experience in both the business and news departments, including more than six years, working on strategic, budget, staffing, legal, recruiting, labor relations, diversity and crisis management issues. She later oversaw four weekend sections and previously worked as State House Bureau Chief in N.J.

Before joining the Times, she spent more than a decade at a startup -- New York Newsday as Police Bureau Chief, City Hall Bureau Chief, Deputy Metropolitan Editor and Circulation Marketing Manager.

You can read some of her work with the Times here.