In the future, I am asking everyone on CJR’s staff to hide their light under a bushel. Otherwise, people may notice their excellence, and—poof—they’re gone. For example:
• Somebody at Harper’s Magazine noticed that James Marcus, our editor at large, has been producing a classy and illuminating Ideas & Reviews section of the Columbia Journalism Review, and hired him away as that magazine’s deputy editor. James is fantastic, and Harper’s will soon know how fortunate it is.
• Somebody at Columbia University Press noticed that Dean Starkman runs our lively and influential business desk, The Audit, at CJR.org, while, with his other hand, he writes first-rate cover stories for the magazine (including “Hamster Wheel,” the September/October cover). In “Power Problem,” the May/June 2009 cover, Starkman critiqued the performance of the elite business press before the great crash. That piece has won more prizes than Starkman can carry. Now he’ll expand its thesis into a book, and place that dismal period into the context of journalism history. Fortunately, we are only losing half of Dean; he will continue to run The Audit in the a.m., with his excellent deputy editor, Ryan Chittum.
• Somebody at Simon & Schuster found out that Brent Cunningham, our managing editor/print, is also our managing editor/food, and a thoughtful and provocative writer, as is his wife, Jane Black, until recently a food writer for The Washington Post. The two got married and got a book contract, in that order. They will research how a town in Brent’s native West Virginia is trying to change the way it eats, and what that effort says about the good-food revolution’s ability to overcome barriers of class, culture, and convenience. Brent will take an eight-month leave from CJR.
But, seriously, congratulations to all.
Meanwhile I am delighted to tell you that Jill Drew will fill in for Cunningham during his absence. On that score, CJR couldn’t be luckier. Drew is a former business editor and foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, and a 2009/2010 CJR Encore Fellow. Among her articles for CJR as a fellow were a profile of NPR’s leader, Vivian Schiller (“NPR Amps Up,” March/April); an assessment of prospects for the new nonprofit investigative outlets (“The New Investigators,” May/June); and an exploration of the future of news video (“See It Now,” September/October). She is passionate about serious journalism and its search for a future, as are we, and we’re delighted she is joining us in a new capacity.