In the beginning, Jason Kint, BSBA ’96, was simply a math and marketing major from Columbus, Ohio, who loved baseball statistics and dabbled in his dorm room on a thing called the World Wide Web.
He arrived at Washington University in the early 1990s, a time when “Web sites” were pages of links with maybe a photo or two.
“I was a huge sports fan who put together a bunch of baseball information, mainly for myself,” Kint says. “I put it out there, and immediately a lot of people started looking at it to get stats, scores and postings.”
Soon Kint was building websites for campus organizations. And one day, he found himself in the office of then-Provost Ed Macias, explaining code and browsers and creating the university’s first “For Students by Students” homepage. His work with two fellow students garnered a front-page print story in the university’s Record. By the time he was a senior, he had launched his own website-building company.
“The fact that the administration let me do all that showed an early awareness of the Internet as a place where young people could test new waters,” he says.
Kint has been working with the web ever since. And now, at age 45, he is helping shape online industry policy as CEO of Digital Content Next, a nonprofit trade organization consisting of more than 60 of the top digital media companies in the world.
Every step he took along the way led him to his role as a guardian of the digital-media galaxy. His first job? Helping launch and run the website of the then-110-year-old Sporting News, the venerable, stats-laden sports magazine, owned at the time by Times-Mirror Inc.
“I knew the web,” he says. “But I knew nothing about how to organize and motivate a staff. I was humbled that I would even be listened to. But listen they did.”
Kint stayed with the company for more than 11 years, helping SportingNews.com refine its content, dive into social media and expand its fantasy sports business. He took on a greater role with publications under the Times-Mirror umbrella and then in 2007 moved into television with CBS Sports. There he helped develop March Madness on Demand and set streaming records for the Super Bowl and the Masters golf tournament.
His experience of the past two decades makes him uniquely qualified as he guides Digital Content Next in its role of shaping industry standards, conducting trainings and research, and educating the public in all things in the digital content ecosystem. The timing is more important than ever, with online titans such as Facebook and Google facing intense scrutiny. Kint calls them out on any overreach and makes sure the public knows what’s going on.
Kint calls keeping the industry in check a “constant revolution,” but one not without hope. “Younger people are coming into positions of influence bringing the same values [protecting individual rights],” he says, “but a different set of experiences and competencies. They grew up using these tools. They understand the way they work. And they care.”
Kint knows because he was once one of those young kids, dabbling in websites here at Washington University.