Jim Brady is the CEO of Spirited Media, a media consulting firm which operated local news sites Billy Penn in Philadelphia, The Incline in Pittsburgh and Denverite in Denver prior to selling the businesses in early 2019. Prior to founding Spirited Media, Jim served in many roles as a media executive, including Executive Editor of washingtonpost.com, Editor in Chief of Digital First Media, General Manager of TBD, Head of News and Sports for America Online and in various other roles. Jim also served as public editor of ESPN from 2015-18.
Spirited Media’s well-regarded sites focused on traditional local news coverage, but combined that coverage with a more distinctive voice, strong curation and a focus on mobile that separated it from competitors. It also differentiated itself from a business perspective by focusing on events and membership as core revenue lines, rather than advertising. In 2019, Spirited Media sold Denverite to Colorado Public Radio, The Incline to digital startup Whereby.us and Billy Penn to WHYY, Philadelphia’s iconic public radio station.
During his career, Jim has seen journalism from all angles. He’s worked in legacy newsrooms, digital-only companies and pure startups. He’s worked in newsrooms, on product and as a business leader. And he’s served in roles ranging from cub reporter to CEO.
During Jim's tenure at washingtonpost.com, the site won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, an Editor & Publisher award for Best Overall Newspaper-Affiliated Web Site, two Digital Edge awards for Best Overall News Site, a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, two Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards, four Edward R. Murrow Awards for Best Non-Broadcast Affiliated Web Site, and more than 100 White House News Photographers video awards. Jim was also on the original launch team of washingtonpost.com, serving as sports editor and then assistant managing editor for news from 1995 to 1999.
At Digital First Media, Jim was responsible for the overall strategy and management of the 75 daily newspapers, 292 non-daily publications and 341 online sites owned by Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group. He also built and managed the company’s Thunderdome unit, which was comprised of more than 50 digitally focused journalists charged with providing cutting-edge national content for DFM’s local properties.
During his time at AOL, Jim was in charge of the service’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election. In addition to his news role at AOL, Jim also served as Executive Director, Editorial Operations and Vice President, Production & Operations.
At TBD, Jim was charged with launching a new type of local digital news operation, one focused on building deeper relationships with consumers via a strong voice, heavy curation and personalized geographic content. In addition to overseeing the digital operation, Jim also ran NewsChannel8, Washington’s 24/7 local news cable television station.
In addition to these management positions, Jim has also done long-term consulting work at The Guardian, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC and Politico.
Jim is a Past President of the Online News Association, and, in 2017, received the Rich Jaroslovsky Award for his long service to ONA. He currently serves on the boards of the American Press Institute, National Press Foundation and the Local Media Association and recently concluded a four-year term as a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. He is also a two-time judge of the Pulitzer Prizes.
Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from The American University in 1989, and 21 years later, won the school’s Alumni Achievement Award.
Born in New York City and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Brady lives with his wife, Joan, in the Washington D.C. area. We are inveterate road trippers, having done two 48-state tours of the United States with our dogs, the latter chronicled on our trip blog. Jim also holds out hope that, someday, the Jets, Mets or Knicks will bring him some joy.