Board

R.B. Brenner

R.B. Brenner teaches journalism at Stanford University. From fall 2014 to spring 2018, he was a professor and the journalism school director at the University of Texas at Austin. Before then, he was a lecturer in the Stanford Journalism Program, starting in 2010, and served as the program’s deputy director.

R.B.’s teaching is informed by his three-decade career as a reporter and editor. He held several editing positions at The Washington Post, including Sunday Editor, Metro Editor and Maryland Editor. He was one of the primary editors of The Post’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008, and played a leadership role in merging the digital and print newsrooms.

A graduate of Oberlin College, R.B. began his reporting career in North Carolina and also worked at newspapers in California and Florida. He has been a consultant for two journalism-themed films: “The Post” (2017) and “State of Play” (2009).

Bassey Etim

Bassey Etim is the editorial director at Canopy. Previously, he spent 10 years as the Community Desk Editor at The New York Times, where he managed a team that built one of the most innovative community forums in the world. He ran the 16-person community management desk within the Times newsroom and was the editorial head of the Times’ Community development team.  

Tom Glaisyer

Tom Glaisyer is the Managing Director of the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on a vibrant media and the public square, Tom leads the Democracy Fund’s mission to invest in innovations and institutions that help people understand and participate in the democratic process. Current grantees of the Public Square Program include the Institute for Nonprofit News, the American Press Institute, and the Engaging News Project.

Tom brings to the Democracy Fund a background in media research and policy, as well as social media advocacy consulting. He led the Media Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute where he sought to track and influence media efforts at the local, community, and national levels. During his time at New America, Tom’s efforts centered on policies that support the open Internet and innovation in media, strengthening independent reporting on issues of public interest, and helping citizens access and engage with high-quality information. Prior to this, he was a consultant and analyst focused on leveraging online platforms for knowledge management and building and sustaining advocacy networks. Tom also brings more than 14 years of international experience in information technology implementation and organizational change to the Democracy Fund.

Tom received his bachelor of engineering and economics from the University of Birmingham, England. He holds a master’s of international affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University as well as an M. Phil and Ph.D from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he wrote his dissertation on the future of the public square. He serves as board secretary for the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding.

Emily Ramshaw

Emily Ramshaw is the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan digital news organization that produces politics and policy news, data and events statewide, and operates the largest statehouse reporting bureau in the nation. Under her leadership, the Tribune — billed “one of the nonprofit news sector’s runaway success stories” — has won a Peabody Award, several national Murrow Awards and top honors from the Online News Association. By way of its free syndication model, the Tribune has filled the pages of Texas newspapers, broadcast on TV and video airwaves statewide, and provided Texas-specific reporting for both The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Before joining the Tribune in 2010 as one of its founding reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound and uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 star reporter of the year. In 2016, she was named to the board of the Pulitzer Prize. A native of Washington, D.C., and the product of two journalist parents, Ramshaw graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with dual degrees in journalism and American history. She lives in Austin with her husband David Hartstein — an Emmy Award-winning film producer — and a daughter, Sophie.

Anthea Watson Strong

Anthea Watson Strong is the Product Manager for Local News at Facebook Before joining Facebook, she worked on the Google’s Civics team, building products that helped people access public services more efficiently and helped users engage in the civic process. Most recently, for the 2016 U.S. elections, her team launched features on Google search to help voters participate in the elections by registering to vote, researching candidates, and understanding the outcome and impact of the elections.

During the 2012 campaign cycle, she spent 12 months working as the Director of Voter Experience with the Obama technology team. Before joining the campaign, she ran an open data effort, the Voting Information Project—a nonpartisan effort to collect, standardize and distribute, through an open API, a nationwide database of polling locations and election related information.

Richard Tofel

Richard Tofel was the founding general manager of ProPublica from 2007-2012, and became president on Jan. 1, 2013. He has responsibility for all of ProPublica’s non-journalism operations, including communications, legal, development, finance and budgeting, and human resources.

He was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and, earlier, an assistant managing editor of the paper, vice president, corporate communications for Dow Jones & Company, and an assistant general counsel of Dow Jones. More recently, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation, and earlier as president and chief operating officer of the International Freedom Center, a museum and cultural center that was planned for the World Trade Center site.

He is the author of “Speaking Truth in Power: Lessons for Our Sorry Politics from Our Inspiring History” (2018); “Home Run Revolution: Babe Ruth in His Time, 1919-1920” (2015); “Non-Profit Journalism: Issues Around Impact” (2013); “Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future” (2012); “Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition” (2011); “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism” (2009); “Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address” (2005); “Vanishing Point: The Disappearance of Judge Crater, and the New York He Left Behind” (2004); and “A Legend in the Making: The New York Yankees in 1939” (2002).