Prizes—oh, how we love ‘em! CJR’s Joel Meares has taken home our latest: a win in the Best Profile/Digital Media category of the Mirror Awards, given by Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications to honor the year’s best media reporting. Meares won his trophy for a profile of Liz Benjamin, “the frizzy-haired muckraker of New York’s statehouse.” His profile of Chuck Todd was also a finalist. Justin Peters, our managing editor/web, and Craig Silverman, our Regret the Error columnist, were finalists (respectively, for Best Single Article/Digital Media and Best Commentary/Digital Media). Congratulations to all. Last year, CJR’s Dean Starkman took a Mirror home, as did then-CJR person (and still honorary CJR person) Megan Garber.
This part of the year is always bittersweet at CJR, though. Each spring we hire two young journalists from the graduating class of Columbia’s journalism school for a yearlong fellowship. Then, a July later, they leave us. So the prize-winning Joel will most likely be on his way back to his home in Sydney soon, where lucky Australians will get to read his journalism. The superb Lauren Kirchner will be leaving, too. We could not have asked for two people with more talent or a stronger work ethic. For an example of Joel’s nuanced, intelligent writing, check out his profile of Tucker Carlson. As for Lauren, read her sharp x-ray of the digital-minded Journal Register Company, or her graceful Darts & Laurels column.
Meanwhile, we welcome their replacements: Erika Fry and Alysia Santo. Erika, who is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a reporter for the Bangkok Post before J-school, writing features and investigative pieces there between 2006 to 2010. She will replace Joel, covering the press on politics and policy for CJR’s Campaign Desk. Before J-school, Alysia was a newsroom intern for three TV stations in upstate New York, her stomping grounds, as well as Global Radio News in London. She’ll cover news innovation, replacing Lauren on CJR’s News Frontier desk.
Speaking of The News Frontier, the report “The Story So Far: What We Know About the Business of Digital Journalism,” which we published in May on CJR.org, is now available in both paperback and as a Kindle e-book from Columbia University Press, here, or via Amazon. The illuminating report was written by Bill Grueskin, the academic dean here at the J-school; Ava Seave, a principal at Quantum Media; and Lucas Graves, a Ph.D. student. It provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the business challenges that for-profit news organizations face in their digital ventures.
Columbia University Press will be publishing several CJR books in the months ahead, and details will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, if you have friends who think and talk about the evolution of journalism, this is a great time to consider giving them a gift subscription to CJR. Or to renew your own subscription. Our fiftieth anniversary issue is coming up, and readers are going to get extra value. I’m just saying.Mike Hoyt was CJR's executive editor from 2001 to 2013, teaches at Columbia's Journalism School and is the editor of The Big Roundtable, a startup that is a home for narrative writing.