BALTIMORE, MD (May 31, 2023) – The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a Baltimore based nonprofit organization and founder of The Baltimore Banner today announced that Imtiaz Patel, CEO will be stepping down effective July 7 to pursue a new opportunity. Patel will continue to serve on the Board of Directors for The Venetoulis Institute, and Brian McGrory, former Editor of The Boston Globe and board member of The Venetoulis Institute will help lead the organization’s transition. The Board will conduct a nationwide search for a new CEO.  

“I’m grateful to Imtiaz for helping realize our collective vision for an independent, nonprofit news organization that is focused on serving all communities,” said Stewart Bainum Jr, Chairman of The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism. “We have built a strong foundation and I have great confidence that we will continue to serve our mission well as we invest and grow our newsroom under the leadership of Editor in Chief Kimi Yoshino. Brian McGrory is a tremendous asset on our board, and we will be in good hands during this transition as we conduct a nationwide search for a new CEO.” 

Patel said “Over the last three years I have worked with Stewart to build the foundation of a robust, mission-driven news organization. I’m tremendously proud of what we have achieved to bring locally owned, not-for-profit news to Baltimore. We have over 70,000 subscribers with paid access, a growing audience and work that has already had a meaningful impact. With a strong leadership team in place, I am confident that The Banner will go from strength to strength. I will always value the time I spent at The Baltimore Banner and look forward to serving on the board.” 

About The Baltimore Banner 

The Baltimore Banner is a multi-platform news operation, covering a broad range of topics from local government to culture and the arts. The Baltimore Banner was created by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a nonprofit organization founded in 2021 to bring high-quality local journalism to the Baltimore metro area.

Rick Abbruzzese
KO Public Affairs

UPDATED: 7/26/2023


BALTIMORE, MD (November 10, 2022) – The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a Baltimore based nonprofit organization and founder of The Baltimore Banner today announced its Board of Directors to guide the organization’s efforts to expand local news coverage in the greater Baltimore region and Maryland. The ten-member board is comprised of diverse business, civic, and non-profit leaders from the Baltimore region and includes nationally recognized journalists and editors, media, advertising, and marketing professionals. The Board will steer The Institute towards a sustainable future by adopting sound governance and financial management policies.

“I’m pleased to announce the inaugural Board of Directors for The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism,” said Stewart Bainum, Jr., Chair and Co-Founder of The Venetoulis Institute. “Each is a respected leader in their field and brings a unique perspective to the Board, along with a deep commitment to the greater Baltimore region and our mission. The Board will play an indispensable role helping to fulfill Co-Founder Ted Venetoulis’ vision to establish a more sustainable model for locally owned, nonprofit news. We took our time to build out a Board that brings a diverse set of skills and perspectives that will help The Banner succeed. I am delighted that we were able to bring such a capable, well-regarded group of individuals together to serve on our Board.”

The Board of Directors include:

“In just over one year, The Institute launched The Baltimore Banner with a world-class newsroom and entered meaningful partnerships with news organizations throughout the region, including WYPR and WJZ,” said Imtiaz Patel, CEO, The Venetoulis Institute. “I’m thrilled that we have been able to bring this group of accomplished individuals together to help us create a sustainable news organization that serves our communities. I look forward to working with the Board to guide The Institute and The Baltimore Banner well into the future.”

The Venetoulis Institute Board Members

Stewart Bainum Jr., Chair, Board of Directors Choice Hotels International

Stewart is a life-long Maryland resident and co-founder of The Venetoulis Institute. Stewart has built and led several successful businesses over the course of his career, including Manor Care, Artis Senior Living and Sunburst Hospitality. He is currently the chairman of Choice Hotels International, a role he has held since 1997. Stewart is a civic leader and served in the Maryland General Assembly between 1979 and 1987. He is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and was previously on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Medical System, St. Mary’s College, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Bowdoin College. Stewart has had a 36-year romance with Sandy Yarish Bainum during which they raised two sons now 28 and 31.

Sandy Bainum, Actor, Singer, Dancer, Producer

Sandy Bainum is a professional actor, singer, dancer, and producer. A 34-year resident of Maryland, she holds an MBA from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, and a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from West Virginia University. Sandy has appeared in leading roles on Broadway in David Merrick’s 42ND STREET, and at regional theaters in Washington and Los Angeles, as well as tv and film.
Sandy has served on the boards of Horizons of DC, the Olney Theater, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Her favorite production ever: being a mom to her two boys.

Janet Currie, President, Greater Maryland – Bank of America

Janet Currie is president of Bank of America, Greater Maryland Market, and the market executive for the Local Markets Organization. In this role, she is responsible for connecting clients, teammates, and communities to the full power of the franchise, driving integration across our eight lines of business. She also leads the effort to deploy Bank of America’s resources to help advance economic mobility and build strong communities

As the Market Executive, she leads Bank of America’s environmental social governance work in the region, leveraging the capabilities of the company to help partners, people, and communities more effectively address a wide range of issues.
Janet holds a Master of Science degree from New York University, Stern School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and a graduate of both Leadership Howard County and the Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADERship programs. Janet has served on numerous local boards and currently serves on the board of the Maryland Bankers Association, the Greater Baltimore Committee, Cherry Hill Strong and the Baltimore Convention and Tourism board. She Co-Chairs the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Baltimore Women’s Advisory Board.

Within Bank of America, Janet serves as the Co-Executive Sponsor for LEAD for Women, an employee network dedicated to connecting, developing, and elevating women to enable them to make meaningful contributions within Bank of America and the communities we serve. She acts as a mentor to many women within the organization.
Janet has been recognized as a Daily Record Influential Marylander, a Daily Record Power 30 Banking & Finance professional, a Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award winner, Baltimore Sun 25 Women to Watch honoree and Baltimore Business Journal – 2022 Enterprising Women of Excellence honoree.

Jedd Gould, President and Owner Mediabids

Jedd Gould is President and Owner of Mediabids, the world’s largest print advertising marketplace, specializing in response-based solutions in newspaper and magazine advertising. More than 10,000 publications and 17,000 advertisers use Mediabids to buy, sell, plan, purchase, and measure print advertising.

William (Bill) L. Jews, Professional Director, Former President & CEO of CareFirst, Inc.

William L. Jews is the former President and CEO of CareFirst Inc., the seventh largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan with more than $5 billion in annual revenue. Jews led the combined not-for-profit and for-profit entity from 1993 until 2006, serving nearly three million customers, including the nation’s largest federal health program. Previous leadership roles with other major healthcare organizations include serving as President and CEO of both Dimensions Health Corp., from 1990 to 1993, and Liberty Medical Center Inc./Lutheran Health Care Corp., from 1979 to 1990. Jews began his career in the healthcare industry at the University of Maryland Medical System in 1975, ascending to planning director by 1979.
Jews currently serves on the board of directors of several major public corporations, including Choice Hotels International; CACI International Inc.; CalAtlantic Group; and KCI Technologies Inc. His prior directorships include SecureNet; Camden Partners; Ecolab Inc.; MBNA; MuniMae Inc.; Maryland National Bank/Nations Bank; Crown Central Petroleum; and Fortress International Group Inc. Jews also served as a Governor with the Federal Reserve Bank.

Jews is an investment advisor for Sterling Venture Partners I, LP, a director of the Signal 13 Police Foundation for Baltimore City and a board member of Caves Valley. He has participated in leadership roles with other business, governmental and educational organizations, including the Baltimore County Revenue Authority, the Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Commission, and the President’s Advisory Board of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Brian McGrory, Chair, Boston University Journalism Program

Brian McGrory is the chair of the Department of Journalism at Boston University and a contributing columnist to the Boston Globe.

During his career with Globe, McGrory achieved success, at various times as a metro columnist, the Globe’s Metro editor, White House reporter, national reporter, general assignment reporter, and suburban reporter. He won the Scripps-Howard award for commentary and the Sigma Delta Chi award for general column writing in 2011. The Globe newsroom has won three Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure as editor and has been a finalist another dozen times. McGrory, a Boston native, has authored four published novels and a memoir about his family’s pet rooster.

Imtiaz Patel, Chief Consumer Officer, Gannett

Imtiaz Patel is the former CEO The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism. He is also a former executive with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal where he led circulation strategy and served as GM of key business verticals. Previously, Imtiaz was a consultant with Kurt Salmon Associates and Deloitte focused on growth strategy and business turnarounds. Most recently, Imtiaz advised several news organizations, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gannett, and USA Today, and also led the efforts to acquire The Baltimore Sun and Tribune Publishing. Imtiaz holds a B.Sc. in Economics, Accounting & Finance from The London School of Economics, as well as an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Shanaysha Sauls, CEO Baltimore Community Foundation

Shanaysha Sauls serves as President and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation. Over the years, she has served in several civic roles. Shanaysha co-founded one of Baltimore’s first wholly new charter schools and served as the founding treasurer of a nonprofit focused on advocating for family-friendly community development in downtown Baltimore neighborhoods. Her prior professional experience ranges from consulting on strategic direction and marketing for colleges and universities across the country to leading and teaching at the secondary and collegiate levels.  In 2010, she was appointed by the Governor and Mayor to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners and later served as board chair. Shanaysha was appointed chair of the Accountability and Ethics Workgroup for newly elected Comptroller Bill Henry, helping to shape the first transition of the Baltimore city comptroller in 25 years. Shanaysha has been recognized by the Maryland Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland, College Park and earned a Ph.D. from Duke University.

Josh Tyrangiel, Executive Producer / COO Eden Productions / Kunhardt Films

A Baltimore native, Josh Tyrangiel is Executive Producer at Eden Productions and COO/Executive Producer at Kunhardt Films. He oversees all non-fiction content for both companies in their exclusive deal with Apple TV+.

Tyrangiel began his career at Rolling Stone magazine before moving to MTV News, where he was a writer and producer of the network’s groundbreaking ‘Choose or Lose’ political coverage. After receiving a master’s degree from Yale’s graduate program for American Studies, Tyrangiel began a decade-long run at TIME Magazine, where he served as a staff writer, critic, foreign correspondent, and national editor, before being named deputy managing editor and editor of all of TIME’s digital content.

In 2009, Tyrangiel was hired by Bloomberg to edit and reinvent the recently acquired Businessweek magazine. Renamed Bloomberg Businessweek, the publication saw an immediate spike in subscribers and ad pages and was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. In 2012, Tyrangiel was named Advertising Age’s Editor of the Year and promoted to Chief Content Officer of Bloomberg Media, overseeing a global newsroom of more than 2,000 reporters working across TV, radio, digital, and print.

In 2015, Tyrangiel was named Executive Vice President for News at Vice, and asked to create the first new nightly newscast in more than four decades. Vice News Tonight premiered on HBO in late 2015 and was hailed for its innovative ‘non-anchor’ presentation and cast of young, diverse reporters. The show went on to be nominated for more than 40 Emmy Awards—winning more than all the other network newscasts combined. VNT was honored with a Peabody Award for its documentary on the white supremacist rally and terrorist attack in Charoltesville, VA. Tyrangiel also produced multiple feature length documentaries for HBO, including the Emmy-winning Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Suzi Watford, Chief Growth Officer, SiriusXM, Media Advisor, Former EVP, Consumer Revenue, Dow Jones & The Wall Street Journal

Suzi Watford has over twenty years of experience in the media industry. Originally from Liverpool, Suzi joined The Times of London as a graduate trainee in 2000 after answering a job advert in the back of the newspaper. She rose to run Sales & Marketing for The Times, leading the transition from print to a digital subscription and membership proposition.

In 2014 she was asked to move to New York and joined Dow Jones to oversee The Wall Street Journal’s digital & customer transformation as CMO. In 2018 having repositioned the WSJ brand for growth and building the largest membership in its history she was promoted to EVP and tasked with overseeing all aspects of WSJs business and P&L. She grew record audiences as well as student membership, professional membership propositions and the live journalism business through franchises such as The Future of Everything Festival and Journal House. She went on to oversee all Consumer Revenue across Dow Jones creating a new subscriptions ecosystem across its titles. Today, Suzi is the Chief Growth Officer for SiriusXM.

Suzi has served on the board of INMA and having left Dow Jones earlier this year is still based in NYC. She is an advisor and consultant to news and subscriptions businesses and an active member of The Marketing Academy – a not for profit focused on building and coaching talent in the industry.

The article below originally appeared on The Lenfest Institute on July 6, 2022. The full article can be found here

The Lenfest Institute advised The Baltimore Banner on revenue strategies, organizational structure, and more in advance of its launch.

The Baltimore Banner, a multi-platform nonprofit news organization established by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism and funded by philanthropist Stewart Bainum Jr., officially launched on June 14.  

The Banner has spent the past few months gearing up for this launch by hiring staff, acquiring an office space in downtown Baltimore, starting a newsletter, and announcing a collaboration with public radio station WYPR, to develop joint programming. 

They have ambitious goals. The Banner already has a newsroom of about 40 people, with plans to grow to more than 100. Its target is to attract 100,000 paying subscribers and 5 million monthly unique visitors to its website by 2025 in order to break even. 

The Lenfest Institute is proud to have served as an advisor to Bainum and the Venetoulis Institute as they developed plans for and launched the Banner. Through Lenfest Advisory Services, a strategic consulting service, the Institute works with news organizations around the country to identify sustainable business models and best practices. 

The Lenfest Institute’s CEO and Executive Director Jim Friedlich and Chief Operating Officer and Director of Operations Ken Herts spoke with us about their work advising the Banner team, and they shared insights into their revenue and subscription strategies. 

This article was originally published on The Lenfest Institute by Hayley Slusser and Joseph Lichterman. Find the full conversation here.

The article below originally appeared in The New York Times on July 1, 2022. The full article can be found here.

The internet has pretty much killed local news wars. The Baltimore Banner, a nonprofit start-up, is trying to change that by taking on The Baltimore Sun.

Local news wars have largely gone the way of the phone booth as newspapers have shriveled and reporter jobs have been cut. But one is taking shape in Baltimore, bringing a new kind of rivalry.

The Baltimore Banner, an online news site that started publishing in recent weeks, is trying to go head to head with the 185-year-old Baltimore Sun. The Banner has hired some of The Sun’s best reporters, building a newsroom of more than 40 people so far. And it has had a string of exclusive reporting, including on a feud between the sons of the Baltimore Orioles’ owner over the future of the baseball team.

This wasn’t the original plan of Stewart W. Bainum Jr., the hotel magnate behind The Banner. He tried to buy The Sun last year but lost out to Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that has become the country’s second-largest newspaper operator. Now he’s competing against them, wary of the plans that Alden, which is known for cutting newsroom costs, has for The Sun.

“I kept thinking about local news during Covid, sitting here in Maryland, thinking about the dearth of local news,” Mr. Bainum, a longtime resident of Chevy Chase, Md., said in an interview.

“I just think there has to be a way to figure this out,” he added.

The Banner, which charges for a subscription, is already one of the largest in a raft of local news start-ups that are trying to fill the void left by the closing and downsizing of thousands of newspapers around the country since the rise of the internet. More than 360 local newspapers closed between late 2019 and May alone, according to a report released this week by Northwestern University’s journalism school. And Mr. Bainum has plans to build The Banner to a newsroom of more than 100, eclipsing the size of The Sun, and has promised to contribute or raise $50 million over the first four years.

The bold entry is a test of whether a subscription model for digital-only local news can be sustainable beyond the initial philanthropic capital, and whether there’s an appetite for a second large news publication in cities where competition used to be commonplace. There are also several smaller digital news outlets in the region, including Baltimore FishbowlBaltimore Brew and Baltimore Witness. Axios plans to expand its local newsletters to the city this year, and Baltimore Beat, a Black-run nonprofit, plans to resume publishing after a hiatus during the pandemic.

This article was originally published in The New York Times by Katie Robertson. Find the full New York Times article here.

The interview below originally aired on WYPR’s On The Record show on June 23, 2022.

Kimi Yoshino had established an impressive career in journalism– she was managing editor of the Los Angeles Times — when business magnate Stewart Bainum asked her to leave all that to become editor-in-chief of the online news operation he was starting: The Baltimore Banner.

Listen to the full interview here.

The interview below originally aired on Baltimore Positive on June 22, 2022.

Nestor welcomes The Baltimore Banner leadership team to Slainte to talk media and future of our city

Listen to the full interview here.

The article below originally appeared on CBS Baltimore on June 14, 2022. The full story can be found here.

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Banner, an all-digital non-profit news outlet funded by hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr., officially launched on Tuesday.

A sampling of the initial offerings, some of which are limited to subscribers: a writeup of a poll on how Baltimoreans would fix the city, a look at the persistent problem of vacant houses in Baltimore, and a feature on the “paradox of Francis Scott Key,” writer of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Although the Banner has published multiple stories through its email newsletter in the lead-up to today’s launch, including the details of a legal feud between the sons of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a full website did not go online until Tuesday.

The Banner currently has 42 journalists on staff and plans to have 70 by the end of the year, the company said in a news release.

Bainum and his family launched the Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism — named for former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis, who worked as a news executive after politics — to oversee operations of the Banner.

Find the full article here.

The conversation below originally aired on WYPR’s Midday show on June 10, 2022.

The Baltimore Banner: betting on a bright future for local journalism

We begin today with a conversation about an exciting development that will transform and enrich the media landscape in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Banner will begin publishing soon. The Banner is a multi-platform news organization, launched under the aegis of the non-profit Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, that has attracted top talent from Baltimore and around the country, and it may turn out that it’s riding something of a wave in journalism. Non-profit newsrooms are springing-up and succeeding across the country in cities large and small. The Institute for Non-Profit News reports that in 2020, “Web traffic to nonprofit news sites grew by 43%.”

Listen to the full conversation here.

The article below originally appeared on Radio+Television Business Report on May 23, 2022. The full story can be found here.

A multi-platform news organization established by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism has teamed up with “Your Public Radio” — the main NPR Member station serving Baltimore — for the creation of a joint operating agreement that will allow each organization to work collaboratively “to deliver quality journalism” across the state of Maryland.

The pact involves YPR, based at WYPR-FM 88.1 in Baltimore and heard in both Frederick and Ocean City on WYPF-FM and WYPO-FM, respectively; and the Baltimore Banner.

Find the full article here.

Nonprofit organizations will collaborate, share resources, expand reach to deliver local news across the region and state

BALTIMORE, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Baltimore Banner, a multi-platform news organization established by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, and Your Public Radio (WYPR) 88.1FM, Baltimore’s NPR news station, today announced a joint operating agreement that will allow the nonprofit organizations to work collaboratively to deliver quality journalism across the state.  

Your Public Radio is an independent community licensee and a top-ranking news/talk station in the market airing local, national and international radio content. WYPR excels in local programming and journalism through outstanding shows like Midday and On the Record as well as its award-winning newsroom. With signals in Baltimore (WYPR 88.1 FM), Frederick (WYPF 88.1 FM) and Ocean City (WYPO 106.9 FM), the station also produces and distributes award-winning local podcasts through its Your Public Studios including favorites like The Daily DoseThe Maryland Curiosity Bureau, Essential Tremors, as well as newly added Local Color, The Bounce and Wavelength. Recently, in November 2021, Your Public Radio acquired WTMD 89.7 FM, preserving WTMD’s license, music discovery format and community connection to local artists, musicians and music lovers.

Both teams will work together to cover stories, special reports and develop joint programming to serve the needs of communities throughout Baltimore and around the state. This includes content sharing across platforms accessible to Baltimore Banner subscribers and the Your Public Radio audience and members. One of the first collaborations will be to cover the upcoming local elections.

The agreement provides an opportunity to expand the capacity and reach of each organization’s newsroom, increasing their ability to cover more issues and stories that matter. The teams will work together, leveraging WYPR’s audio expertise to create a series of joint podcasts and radio programming. The organizations are committed to working collaboratively to strengthen local news by leveraging platforms to reach a broader audience throughout the state and expanding their distribution channels to include, radio, podcasts, video, data and visual journalism.

“We are looking forward to the possibilities of this unique model of nonprofit news as we work to preserve and strengthen local journalism here in greater Baltimore,” said LaFontaine E. Oliver, president of Your Public Radio and general manager of WYPR. “This partnership between Your Public Radio and The Baltimore Banner is an important step to bolster our local newsrooms in Maryland – with trusted, community reporting at the core of the agreement between the two organizations.”

“We are excited to partner with WYPR, an NPR news Member station, with a long history demonstrating the principles and values we share at The Baltimore Banner,” said Imtiaz Patel, chief executive officer of The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism. “Our goal is to strengthen Baltimore’s local reporting, growing our coverage statewide. This partnership is a force multiplier for both organizations to expand our coverage and bring the very best local news to the region and state. We can’t imagine a better partner than LaFontaine and the WYPR family to serve the varied needs of Baltimore’s communities and have a positive impact.” 

In addition to content sharing, newsroom collaboration and the ability to reach a broader audience, the agreement allows expanded marketing and sponsorship opportunities to be offered, creating added value for sponsors and financial support for both organizations. The Baltimore Banner will benefit from access to WYPR’s strong dedicated listenership and network of supporters, including recently acquired WTMD 89.7 FM.

About The Baltimore Banner

The Baltimore Banner is a multi-platform news operation, covering a broad range of topics from local government to culture and the arts. The Baltimore Banner was created by The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a nonprofit organization founded in 2021 to bring high-quality local journalism to the Baltimore metro area.

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About Your Public Radio

Your Public Radio serves Baltimore, Central Maryland and beyond. NPR station WYPR was founded in 2002 by local community members. It is an independent licensee with a diverse Board of Directors consisting of Maryland residents. In addition to airing national and international radio features, WYPR excels in local programming including its news, public affairs and cultural programs, and in 2021, Your Public Radio acquired WTMD 89.7 FM, preserving its award-winning music discovery format and expanding Your Public Radio programming for the community. WYPR is located at 88.1 FM on the radio dial and at 2216 N. Charles Street in Baltimore. WTMD is located at 89.7 FM on the radio dial and at 1 Olympic Plaza in Towson. As listener-supported radio stations, all contributions to the stations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. For more information, visit or

Rick Abbruzzese

Amy Burke Friedman

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