NPF Board: Jim Brady

Jim Brady

Executive Committee Member

CEO and Founder, Spirited Media Inc.


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 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.

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 News Media Alliance, 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.