Maria Ressa Named a Director on the Board of Coda Media

August 25, 2021 — Coda Media announced today that Maria Ressa has joined its Board of Directors. Ressa is an award-winning journalist and the co-founder of Rappler, a pioneering digital newsroom in the Philippines. A noted expert on disinformation campaigns, she is a globally recognized leader in championing independent media and freedom of expression.

“Maria Ressa brings an ocean of personal credibility to Coda’s vision of journalism as a public good,” said Ilan Greenberg, Coda’s Publisher and Editorial Director. “Her decision to join our board brings tremendous firepower to the task of oversight and providing the management team with guidance.”

As Rappler’s executive editor and CEO, Ressa has faced immense harassment and numerous arrests by the government of Rodrigo Duterte. Rappler’s battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.

For her courage and dedication to fighting disinformation and fake news, Ressa was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, and has also been named one of Time’s Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine’s world’s top 50 thinkers. In 2020, she received the Journalist of the Year award, the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, the Most Resilient Journalist Award, the Tucholsky Prize, the Truth to Power Award, and the Four Freedoms Award.

“Maria combines a deep understanding of digital media, a foundational commitment to truth and holding the powerful to account, and a powerful enthusiasm for the global topics that Coda explores with original multimedia storytelling,” said Natalia Antelava, Coda’s Editor-in-Chief. 

Ressa’s journalism has earned her many awards, including the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University, the Columbia Journalism Award, the Free Media Pioneer Award from the International Press Institute, and the Sergei Magnitsky Award for Investigative Journalism.

“I’m thrilled to join the team offering governance and strategic counsel to a vital journalism company such as Coda. We share values and mission — and I’m looking forward to diving into the digital media challenges that Coda faces and that I’m already so immersed in,” said Ressa.

Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for 35 years. Before founding Rappler, she opened and ran CNN’s bureaus in Manila and Jakarta. She was CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Southeast Asia. She is the author of two books — Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook

Nicholas Dawes is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dawes is executive director of The City, an award-winning, nonprofit digital news outlet in New York City. Dawes was previously the deputy executive director for Media at Human Rights Watch. He has also served as chief content officer of Hindustan Times, one of India’s largest news organizations and editor-in-chief of South Africa’s leading investigative and political title, the Mail & Guardian. 

Liz Heron is currently serving as a Director on the Board. She is a digital media executive and journalist who has spent her career specializing in the intersection of reporting, storytelling and digital innovation. Currently, she consults on digital media strategies — for the Knight Foundation and others — after serving most recently as the executive editor of The HuffPost. Before joining The HuffPost, she ran the news and journalism partnerships team at Facebook. Previously, Heron was a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal in charge of news for mobile, social media, audience development and multimedia. Prior to that, she was social media editor at The New York Times.


Coda is a digital publication dedicated to providing sustained, granularly focused, 360-degree storytelling on the roots of global crises, like disinformation, authoritarian technology, and the war over science. Storytelling is designed to provide an engaged audience with context, illuminate stakes, and show the continuity between unfurling events around the world. Coda’s journalism is original and reported by our staff of 18, published continuously on the Coda website and with editorial partners.

Coda is a 501(c)3 nonprofit media company based in New York.