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  • Knight Innovation Awards and Summit

    Date & Time:
    From 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM on December 1, 2014

    CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

    219 W. 40th Street

    New York, NY   10018

    VICE Media co-founder and CEO Shane Smith will receive the Knight Foundation’s 2014 Innovation Award on Dec. 1 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism — and leading technologists and entrepreneurs from outside of the media industry will present their ideas for how journalism needs to evolve.

    VICE’s raw, immersive reporting style and frequent focus on world affairs has attracted imitators, critics, and an expanding audience, including younger viewers who have increasingly turned away from traditional network and cable news coverage. Smith’s vision and personality have been central to the firm’s success, including its Emmy-winning HBO series, VICE.

    Smith will accept his award and name his own choice to receive a $25,000 Knight prize following an afternoon program on media innovation. Serial entrepreneur and Idealab CEO Bill Gross will deliver a keynote address. CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis will present a new white paper on media’s transition from delivering content to providing personalized services and solutions. And innovators from outside of journalism — including Pantegrion Capital’s Alicia Syrett, PowerToFly CEO Milena Berry. and Betaworks Chief Data Scientist Gilad Lotan — will offer advice on what media needs to do to survive and win audiences.

    The event will be streamed live beginning at 2:30 pm, with the awards presentation scheduled to start at 5:30 pm and a reception to follow. #mediainnovation


    Shane Smith  Shane Smith is the founder and CEO of VICE, the global youth media brand. One of the industry’s most respected visionaries, Smith is also a critically acclaimed journalist, and the host and executive producer for the Emmy winning news series, VICE, on HBO. Under Smith’s guidance, VICE, initially launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, has expanded and diversified to become the world’s leading youth media company; operating an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house and a feature film division.

    Smith has reported from the world’s most isolated and difficult places, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Liberia and Greenland. VICE has won scores of awards for its groundbreaking reporting, including an Emmy Award for Best Information Series or Special, the Environmental Media Award,  Television Academy Honors for socially conscious programming, and more.

    Smith graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, with a BA in English Literature and Political Science. He enjoys cold white wine and long, bubbly baths — preferably in tandem.


    Bill Gross  Bill Gross founded Idealab in March 1996 and serves as the company’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Bill founded Idealab to create and build successful businesses that capitalize on innovations in areas with significant growth opportunities, including the Internet. Among the firms that he has launched or supported: Knowledge Adventure, CitySearch, and UberMedia.


    Alicia Syrett  Alicia Syrett is the Founder and CEO of Pantegrion Capital, an angel investment vehicle focused on seed and early stage investments. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of NY Angels and as the Chairman of the Board of HeTexted. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Enerknol, The Pitch Deck, Beauty Booked, and Willa.

    Ms. Syrett has appeared on CNBC’s Cash Crowd, Fox Business’s Risk & Reward, and MSNBC’s Your Business. She was named as one of the “25 Angel Investors in New York You Need to Know” by AlleyWatch and has also appeared in Inc. and USA Today. She is a frequent speaker on panels for various startup organizations and entrepreneurial programs in and around New York City.

    Prior to founding Pantegrion, Ms. Syrett was the CAO, Managing Director and first employee of a multi-billion dollar private equity firm. She spent over 10 years in the financial industry. Ms. Syrett graduated early from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics (magna cum laude) and concentrations in Finance and Accounting. She also possesses two MBA degrees from the London Business School (with distinction) and Columbia Business School where she received Beta Gamma Sigma honors.


    Jeff Jarvis  Jeff Jarvis is the author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, What Would Google Do?, and the Kindle Single, Gutenberg the Geek. He blogs about media and news at Buzzmachine.com and cohosts the podcast This Week in Google. He is a professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. He advises media companies, startups, and foundations and is a public speaker. Until 2005, he was president and creative director of Advance.net, the online arm of Advance Publications. Prior to that, Jarvis was creator and founding editor of Entertainment Weekly; Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News; TV critic for TV Guide and People; a columnist on the San Francisco Examiner; and assistant city editor and reporter for the Chicago Tribune.


    Milena Berry  Born in Bulgaria, Milena Berry moved to New York a week before September 11, ready to embrace the American ethos of pursuing her dreams. Thirteen years later — and with three kids under eight — she co-founded PowerToFly in part to share her experience of balancing family life and a fulfilling career. The firm’s strong, dual mission is to empower companies by closing their gender gap in tech and to help millions of women around the world find innovative jobs.

    Milena became a believer in working remotely as CTO of the distributed online activist community Avaaz.org, whose tech platform she scaled from being able to handle zero to 33 million members while managing to be present for a full schedule of field trips, family Fridays, and doctors appointments. Milena is a graduate of NYU’s ITP, led by the visionary “Mother of Silicon Alley” Red Burns. She speaks six languages and spends all her free time either with her kids, or escaping from them for an hour of exercise.


    Gilad Lotan  Gilad Lotan is the Chief Data Scientist at Betaworks, a technology company that operates as a studio, building new products, growing companies and seed investing. Previously, Gilad ran the data team at SocialFlow and built visualizations at Microsoft’s FUSE Labs. His past work includes ‘Retweet Revolution’, visualizing the flow of information during the 2009 #IranElection riots, and a study investigating the relationship between mainstream media and social media channels during the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Gilad is an advisor for media entities and startups. His work has been covered by the New York Times, the Guardian, Fast Company and the Atlantic Wire and published across a wide range of academic journals.


    Zephyr Teachout  Zephyr Teachout is a political organizer and Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University. She sought the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of New York in 2014, finishing second to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo with more than a third of the vote.



    2:30 pm: Welcome. Sarah Bartlett, Dean, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

    2:40 pm: Keys to Startup Success: Bill Gross, Founder and CEO, Idealab

    3:40 pm: Break

    3:50 pm: Outside Views on Media’s Future: Milena Berry, PowerToFly; Gilad Lotan, betaworks; Alicia Syrett, Pantegrion Capital, NY Angels; Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law School. Moderated by Sandeep Junnarkar, CUNY.

    4:50 pm: Geeks Bearing Gifts: Imagining New Futures for News: Jeff Jarvis, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism

    5:20 pm: Break

    5:30 pm: Knight Media Innovation Awards: Shane Smith, Co-founder and CEO, VICE Media; and others.

    6:30 pm: Reception

    Knight Foundation


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    Last updated Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 12:07 pm