Press Fact Sheet: Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy

February 5, 2019

NOTE – This fact sheet accompanies a press release announcing the report’s key recommendations:

Media Contacts:

Aspen Institute:
Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
The Aspen Institute | 202-736-2111

Knight Foundation:
Yari Aquino | 202-800-7947

What is the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy?

The Commission was formed in the summer of 2017 by the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The 27 Commissioners were tasked with examining the causes and consequences of a collapse in trust in democratic institutions, with a focus on trust in the media, journalism and the information ecosystem. In addition, it sought to identify the perennial and emerging values and social obligations that should guide those who produce, distribute and consume news and information to ensure a functioning democracy. It issues its final, unanimous recommendations on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 in the report, “Crisis in Democracy: Renewing Trust in America.”

How did the Commission draw its conclusions?

The Commission benefited from a wide diversity of input from witnesses, scholars, activists, government officials and, through a Medium channel, the general public. Commissioners held meetings and hearings in New York, California, Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Texas. More information about specific meetings is available through the links below: 

October 2017: New York City, New York

January 2018: Palo Alto, California

February 2018: Miami, Florida

April 2018: Nashville, Tennessee

May 2018: Racine, Wisconsin

September 2018: Austin, Texas

Where can I read the report?

The report can be read in full here: Please link to this url in any coverage mentioning the report.

If you cover or quote from the report, please credit The Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, the Aspen Institute, and the Knight Foundation. On social media, share and follow using #KnightComm

The report will be launched at an event in Washington, D.C., at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 5th at the Aspen Institute headquarters. Media interested in attending should contact Jon.Purves:

Who are the Commissioners?

  • Anthony Marx, President, The New York Public Library (Co-chair)
  • Jamie Woodson, Former President and CEO, State Collaborative On Reforming Education (Co-chair)
  • Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO, Knight Foundation (Ex-Officio)
  • Daniel Porterfield, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute (Ex-Officio)
  • Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, FRONTLINE PBS
  • Meredith Artley, Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CNN Digital
  • Stephen Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Yale University
  • 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 (FSI) Stanford University
  • Theaster Gates, Founder, Rebuild Foundation
  • Richard Gingras, Vice President, News, Google
  • Sean Gourley, CEO, Primer
  • Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania
  • Fisk Johnson, President and CEO, SC Johnson
  • Joanne Lipman, Author and former Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer/Editor-in-Chief, Gannett and USA Today
  • Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Eduardo 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 MIT Media Lab
  • Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax
  • Mizell Stewart III, Vice President, News Operations, Gannett and USA TODAY
  • Charles Sykes, Editor-in-Chief, The Bulwark
  • John Thornton, Founder, Texas Tribune
  • Anthea Watson Strong, Product Manager for News, Facebook
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Faculty Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School

Detailed information about individual commissioners is available here:

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


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