Speaker profile

Jan Schaffer

Jan Schaffer is executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, an incubator for U.S. news entrepreneurs and innovators and she is Entrepreneur in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C.

A Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, she left daily journalism to lead pioneering initiatives in civic, interactive and participatory journalism, and citizen media ventures.

J-Lab has funded  more than 100 entrepreneurial news startups and collaboration projects since 2005 and created an array of digital and print resources for newsrooms, classrooms and media entrepreneurs. It is a spinoff of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which she also led and which funded 120 innovative newsroom projects. At The Philadelphia Inquirer, she helped write a series that won freedom for a man wrongly convicted of five murders, landed the real firebombers in jail, and led to the civil rights convictions of six Philadelphia homicide detectives. The series was awarded the Pulitzer Gold Medal and several other national awards.

She currently helps media outlets, universities and nonprofits with custom projects that build on her 20 years of experience in the rapidly changing media landscape.