Two Innovative Media Leaders Join ICFJ Board of Directors

Schmidt (left) founded the pioneering journalism nonprofit Rest of World. Jones is editor of culture, training and outreach for The Wall Street Journal.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) welcomes Brent Jones of The Wall Street Journal and Sophie Schmidt of Rest of World to its board of directors. 

As the editor of culture, training and outreach, Jones is a critical part of the learning process inside the Journal newsroom, including partnering across news teams and with Dow Jones colleagues on efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion goals. He has more than 20 years of experience as a journalist and newsroom leader. Schmidt is the founder of Rest of World, an international journalism nonprofit organization documenting what happens when technology, culture and the human experience collide in places typically overlooked and underestimated. 

“Brent and Sophie bring experience and insights that will significantly benefit our board, ICFJ as a whole and the individual journalists we serve,” said Michael Golden, ICFJ’s board chair and former vice chair of The New York Times. “They join at an exciting time, as we find new ways to support our vast network of journalists and the vital work they do. ”

In his current position, Jones has worked with Journal news teams to identify strategic pillars of learning, anchored weekly training sessions, helped to elevate the newsroom’s presence at journalism conferences and launched groundbreaking training collaborations with Morgan State University in Baltimore and Lehman College in the Bronx. Previously, Jones served as head of standards and ethics for USA Today, a role that expanded to support 100-plus local newsrooms across Gannett. He also created, produced and hosted the publication’s first media ethics podcast. Jones is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

Schmidt founded Rest of World in 2019, after observing “an information gap” in tech reporting in the U.S. and abroad. In her founder’s note, she wrote: “We’re here to connect the dots: Across languages and tech sectors, between common problems and shareable solutions.” The organization’s staff members speak 20 languages and have lived in 41 countries and counting. Schmidt started the organization after a decade of living and working across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including for companies such as Uber. She is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton University.

“Brent and Sophie are innovative leaders with a demonstrated passion for our mission: empowering journalists to deliver trustworthy news that has impact,” ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan said. “We are thrilled that they are contributing their time and talent to help ICFJ serve our unparalleled network of journalists worldwide.”

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