On the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary, we invited James Boylan, who founded CJR in 1961 when he was thirty-three years old, to discuss the magazine’s early history and his time as editor.

Boylan edited CJR from 1961 to 1970, and again from 1976 to 1979. He’s been a contributing editor ever since, and writes a page of short book reviews in each issue. Boylan is an emeritus professor of journalism and history at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the author of Pulitzer’s School, a history of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Our special fiftieth anniversary includes an essay by Boylan reflecting on the magazine’s mission and founding.

Two articles from our archives discussed in this conversation have been republished as part of our fiftieth anniversary celebration: a narrative of President Kennedy’s assassination assembled from the words of reporters who covered it, and an expos√© of the Du Pont family’s editorial interference in Delaware’s major newspapers.

Listen to the episode below, and check out the CJR podcast homepage on iTunes, where you can listen to past episodes and subscribe for free.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.