Knight-funded public media accelerator announces director

Cambridge, MA (March 7, 2012) – Corey Ford, director of Innovation Endeavors’ Runway program, the start-up incubator at Eric Schmidt’s early stage venture capital firm, and former producer for the Emmy Award-winning PBS series FRONTLINE, has been tapped as the director of the new Public Media Accelerator, a $2.5 million incubator launched by Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to spur innovation in public media.

As director, Ford will oversee all aspects of the Public Media Accelerator (www.publicmediax.org), which aims to do for public broadcasting what accelerators like Code for America and RockHealth are doing for government and health care, respectively. The Public Media Accelerator seeks to “change media for good” by investing in mission-driven entrepreneurs from media, technology, and design to build ventures with the potential to reshape the future of public media. Applications for the program will open in early summer 2012. Candidates selected to participate will receive seed funding and join an intensive mentorship-driven entrepreneurship program.

With his experience building a start-up incubator, producing award-winning public media, and teaching multi-disciplinary innovation, Ford is an ideal choice to lead the launch of the Public Media Accelerator. He most recently served as the director of Runway, an incubator for entrepreneurs at Innovation Endeavors, Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s venture capital fund. Prior to that, he taught design thinking innovation at the Institute of Design (“the d.school”) at Stanford University. Ford began his career in public broadcasting managing the production of 17 films from creative inception to broadcast for the PBS/WGBH series FRONTLINE, earning an Emmy and a duPont-Columbia Gold Baton Award.  He earned his MBA at Stanford and was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Corey is an exceptionally talented leader and exactly the kind of mission-driven entrepreneur the Public Media Accelerator is designed to serve.” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “He understands the challenges facing public media and has first-hand experience in helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into products and businesses. He knows what it will take to inspire a new generation of innovators in re-imagining public media for the 21st century.”

“I feel like my whole career has been built for this opportunity,” said Ford.  “I came to Silicon Valley from public broadcasting because I believed deeply in its mission but was worried about its future and wanted to figure out how to apply the lessons of entrepreneurship and innovation to strengthen public media for the next generation.  The Public Media Accelerator is the opportunity to do just that.  I am excited to build an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs who will shape the future of public media by leveraging new technologies and creating viable business models to deliver public media content that is relevant for today’s audiences.”

About Public Radio Exchange
PRX is an award-winning public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. PRX operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including signature PRX programs like The Moth Radio Hour. PRX mobile apps for public media include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine and Public Radio Player. Learn more at PRX.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit knightfoundation.org.

Contacts: 

Patrick Kowalczyk, patrick@pkpr.com
Jason Gordon, jason@pkpr.com
PKPR, 212.627.8098

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.