Jim Friedlich

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James Friedlich (born 1957) is an American media and philanthropy executive.[1] He serves as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a non-profit organization that supports innovative journalism initiatives nationwide and is the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.[2] He serves on the Board of Directors of digital jobs marketplace Dice Holdings, Inc. (DHI, NYSE), and is an investor in several digital media and technology companies.[3][4][5] Friedlich held senior operating positions at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal and was a board director of CNBC International. He was a seed investor in Business Insider before its sale to Axel Springer in 2015.[6][7]


Dow Jones and Company[edit]

From 1990–2000, Friedlich managed the global advertising sales, consumer marketing and business development of various Dow Jones & Company newspapers, magazines, web sites, TV channels and conferences.[8][9] He had business responsibility for all WSJ foreign-language print editions as well as full global sales, marketing and business development responsibility for all Dow Jones international holdings on the Internet, on TV, and in print. Among his responsibilities were The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal Americas – the largest-circulation Journal edition outside of the United States – and CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia, as well as the local language editions of The Wall Street Journal in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.[10][11]

From 1999-2000, Friedlich headed Business Development for Dow Jones' Electronic Publishing Group, including WSJ.com, Dow Jones Newswires, and Dow Jones Indexes. Friedlich played key roles in the creation of a number of new print, Internet, TV and conference properties while at Dow Jones. He was responsible for the international business launch of WSJ.com, co-founded The Wall Street Journal Americas, and launched Dow Jones Conferences, the company’s first events business.[12] He served on the Board of Directors of several international media companies and publications including CNBC Europe, CNBC Asia, Nikkei International, Vedomosti, a Russian language business newspaper joint venture with the Financial Times, America Economia, and the Far Eastern Economic Review. He also served as a Managing Director of Handelsblatt-Dow Jones, GmbH, a joint venture with Germany’s leading business publisher.[13]


Friedlich co-founded New York-based media private equity firm ZelnickMedia (now ZMC) with Wesleyan University classmate Strauss Zelnick in 2001 as one of four original partners.[14][15] From 2001-2011, Friedlich specialized in investments in publishing, business-to-business media, professional information and marketing services. He was integrally involved in investments in Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO),[16] Alloy Media,[17] ITN Networks,[18] and Time-Life.[19][20] Friedlich served from 2005-2013 as Chairman of the Board of Naylor LLC, a North American business-to-business publisher and events company before its sale to RLJ Equity Partners in 2013, the private equity firm of BET founder Bob Johnson.[21][22]

Empirical Media Advisors[edit]

Friedlich founded Empirical Media Advisors with Jack Griffin in 2011. He was appointed CEO in 2014 when Griffin left to become CEO of Tribune Publishing, an Empirical client.[23][24] Empirical advises news and media companies on their digital transition, and has worked closely with The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, Tribune Publishing, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other news organizations in the U.S. and abroad. According to press reports, the firm advised investors on the prospective purchase of the New York Daily News[25] and The Boston Globe,[26] and was instrumental in the digital-first redesign of The Dallas Morning News.[27] Empirical has been quoted widely on media and journalism topics, including by The Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, and The Washington Post.[28][29][30][31][32][33] Empirical Media was acquired by cable television pioneer H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest who donated the company to the Institute for Journalism in New Media.[34] Empirical Media and its team of advisors have been fully integrated into the Institute, offering guidance to news organizations around the world.

Digital Media Investments[edit]

Friedlich is active as an early-stage investor in digital content, news and advertising technology, often co-investing with former Wall Street Journal executives Gordon Crovitz and Craig Forman through NextNews Ventures, an early-stage private investment fund.[35] Friedlich was a seed investor in Business Insider, with Henry Blodget, Kevin Ryan, Crovitz and others, and in subsequent investment rounds with Jeff Bezos.[36] Press accounts have cited NextNews Ventures investments in Nuzzel [a social media curation tool] with Andreesen Horowitz,[37] Poncho [a weather chat bot] with Betaworks, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Comcast, and RRE Ventures,[38] Watchup [a news video player] with Tribune Media,[39] and Skift [a travel news company] with Lerer Hippeau.[40]

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism[edit]

Friedlich was named in September 2016 to lead The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a non-profit organization that supports innovative news initiatives nationwide, with a special emphasis on metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia. Founded by cable TV pioneer H.F. Lenfest, the Institute’s mission is to develop effective business models for journalism on the local and metro level in the digital age. The institute is the parent company of the Philadelphia Media Network, the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.[41] The Institute and the Knight Foundation announced in February 2017 a $4.8 million three-year grant program designed to assist over a dozen major U.S. news organizations in their digital transformation.[42][43]


Friedlich attended Dartmouth College, is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a BA in English magna cum laude, and received his MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.[44] He serves on the Board of Directors of University Settlement, a New York-based family services organization; The Door, a New York-based youth services organization;[45] the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement;[46] and WFMU, a public radio station.

Friedlich lives with his wife Melissa Stern,[47][48] a writer and studio artist, and their son Max.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Media, Empirical. "Empirical Media". empiricalmedia.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Archives - Philly.com". articles.philly.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  3. ^ Inc., Dice Holdings,. "Dice Holdings Announces Appointment of Jim Friedlich to Board of Directors". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  4. ^ "A bunch of media-focused investors have put more money into Nuzzel, the superhot news-reader app". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  5. ^ "Poncho raises $2 mln from Lerer, Greycroft, Comcast, RRE, others". PE Hub. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Thank you!". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  7. ^ Alpert, Lukas I.; Jervell, Ellen Emmerentze (2015-09-22). "Germany’s Axel Springer in Talks to Acquire Business Insider". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  8. ^ "EXECUTIVE CHANGES". The New York Times. 1990-09-11. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  9. ^ "Dow Jones Announces Appointments". www.apnewsarchive.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  10. ^ "Jim Friedlich biography". ZelnickMedia. Archived from the original on 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  11. ^ "A bunch of media-focused investors have put more money into Nuzzel, the superhot news-reader app". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  12. ^ "The Business Insider Will Be Bought By Huge Media Company For More Than Fortune Magazine -- The Deal". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  13. ^ "Executive Profile: James L. Friedlich". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  14. ^ Media, Empirical. "Jim Friedlich | Empirical Media". empiricalmedia.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Wesleyan Alums Create Network in NY Tech Sector". NYConvergence.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  16. ^ "How Wesleyan’s Counter Culture Came To Rule New York’s Tech Scene". Observer. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  17. ^ "ZelnickMedia pays $127M for 'Gossip Girl' creator". Boston.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  18. ^ "Trio take stake in ITN | ZMC". ZMC. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  19. ^ "Time Inc. Sells Time Life Division to Direct Holdings -Direct Marketing News | ZMC". ZMC. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  20. ^ "Time Life Unit Sold to Private Investing Group | ZMC". ZMC. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  21. ^ CHANDLER, DORIS. "Gainesville publisher bought for $50 million". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  22. ^ Companies, The RLJ. "RLJ Equity Partners, LLC Acquires Naylor, LLC". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  23. ^ "Jim Friedlich Named Chief Executive Officer, Empirical Media Advisors". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  24. ^ "Former Time Inc. Chief Jack Griffin Named CEO of Tribune Publishing". TheWrap. 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  25. ^ "Exclusive: Witkoff in the lead to buy the New York Daily News - sources". Reuters. 2017-08-06. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  26. ^ "Potential bidders await Globe sale documents - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  27. ^ "At The Dallas Morning News, becoming truly digital means starting over". Poynter. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  28. ^ Hagey, Keach (2013-01-18). "Magazines Cross the Digital Divide". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  29. ^ Alpert, Lukas I. (2015-05-27). "Vox Media to Acquire Technology Website Re/code". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  30. ^ Hagey, Lukas I. Alpert and Keach (2015-05-12). "Huffington Post’s Uneasy Position in the Verizon-AOL Merger". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  31. ^ Alpert, Lukas I.; Marshall, Jack (2015-12-21). "Bezos Takes Hands-On Role at Washington Post". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  32. ^ "USA Today owner Gannett offers to buy Tribune in $815 million deal". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  33. ^ "Can young women save old media?". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  34. ^ "Rieder: Preserving great journalism in the digital age". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  35. ^ "Home - NextNews". NextNews. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  36. ^ "Thank you!". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  37. ^ "A bunch of media-focused investors have put more money into Nuzzel, the superhot news-reader app". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  38. ^ "Poncho raises $2 mln from Lerer, Greycroft, Comcast, RRE, others". PE Hub. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  39. ^ Watchup. "Watchup Raises a $2.75M Round Led By Tribune Media to Reimagine TV News". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  40. ^ "Introducing Skift: Travel intelligence, global smartness". Skift. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  41. ^ "Archives - Philly.com". articles.philly.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  42. ^ Center, Foundation. "Lenfest Institute, Knight Award $4.8 Million for Digital News Project". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  43. ^ "Newsonomics: The new Knight-Lenfest initiative gives a kick in the pants to America’s metro newspapers". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  44. ^ Media, Empirical. "Jim Friedlich | Empirical Media". empiricalmedia.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  45. ^ "Staff & Board | The Door". www.door.org. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  46. ^ College, Bard. "Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE)". www.bard.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  47. ^ Stern, Melissa. "Melissa Stern". melissa-stern.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  48. ^ "Melissa Stern – Hyperallergic". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  49. ^ "The Life of Man: Max Friedlich". tv.esquire.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15.