This month we begin our fiftieth year. The Columbia Journalism Review made its first appearance back in the fall of 1961 and, all of a sudden, here comes 2011. Not all of a sudden, really. A lot happened to journalism over five decades, and quite a lot happened to us.
First of all, a number of people seemed to agree that CJR was a good idea, since, well, here we are. Those people—readers, writers, and thinkers; advertisers, donors, and advisers; deans and faculty members; friends and even enemies—they got us here, and we are grateful. The mission remains central. The first editorial in that plain-paper 1961 issue talked about the need for the kind of journalism that is “a match for the complications of our age,” a phrase I have come to love. You may have noticed that the age didn’t get less complicated over time.
We’re happy to tell you that some new people are working to ensure that the Columbia Journalism Review remains vibrant for the next fifty years. CJR has formed a new Board of Overseers to advise us on strategy and help us locate the resources to implement it. Their names are in our expanded masthead, and a press release with more about them and their role at CJR is here. We deeply appreciate their help. We will have more to say about our anniversary as the year goes along.
Meanwhile, around the time you read this, or soon after in some cases, we’ll be offering some exciting new stuff online. First, we’ll have introduced the News Frontier Database on CJR.org. It’s a living and searchable tool surveying online news startups around the country, being built by staff writer Mike Meyer, our Web developer Michael Murphy, and others, with support from the Open Society Institute. We plan to launch it on January 11 with fifty prominent digital news outlets, and to keep adding to it into the future. Also, we’ll be rolling out a refreshed version of our popular Who Owns What database of big media conglomerates.
Also, by the time you read this, our new podcast series, which you can find via our site or by searching on iTunes, will be up and running, thanks to assistant editor Lauren Kirchner. Not too much further into the year, a rich, full-color, digital version of CJR, created by Zinio and handy for your mobile device, should be available via our website. After that will come Kindle. And we’ll be introducing a way to purchase single CJR print articles from our recent archives.
—Mike Hoyt (@michaelhoyt)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.