NEW YORK, 23 May 2011 — The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Jonathan Barzilay as director of its work on freedom of expression, a $40 million annual portfolio that supports arts and culture, media policy, journalism, and public interest media in the United States and around the world.
"Jonathan is a person of remarkable vision with a commitment to social justice," said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Culture and Free Expression at the foundation. "He has helped lead the transition of television from an analog to a digital medium, launched and overseen cable channels, and worked with iconic media leaders and journalists to tackle important issues of access and fairness. We are tremendously excited about the fresh ideas and depth of experience he'll bring to our work, and I am personally very proud to have him as our director of Freedom of Expression."
Barzilay arrives at the foundation with 25 years as a leader in network television and online and interactive programming, as well as experience as a First Amendment attorney. He has held senior management positions at ABC, CBS, and most recently, at Qualcomm's FLO TV.
Barzilay served as senior vice president and head of content at FLO TV since 2008. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and general manager of entertainment for CBS Interactive, overseeing the online entertainment business for CBS. Previously, he served as senior vice president at Disney/ABC Cable Networks and general manager at Toon Disney and ABC Kids. He held numerous other management posts during the course of his 15-year career at Disney/ABC.
Barzilay will guide the foundation's work in support of innovative public service journalism, media infrastructure and policies that ensure a fair and open Internet, artists and cultural institutions working on the frontlines of social change, and religion in the public sphere.
"It's an honor to join an institution with a legacy like the Ford Foundation's," Barzilay said. "Its commitment to free expression, to artists and arts institutions, and to media that serve the public interest is inspiring. I look forward to helping to guide the next generation of this work."
Barzilay began his career as an attorney in private practice in New York, focusing on entertainment law and First Amendment issues. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.
Barzilay will assume his new position in July 2011.