The Columbia Journalism School announced the hiring of Elizabeth Spayd as CJR’s new editor in chief and publisher on Thursday. The school’s press release follows:
CJR, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary year, announced today that Elizabeth Spayd has been named editor in chief and publisher of the magazine and its website, CJR.org.
Spayd has spent the last 25 years at the Washington Post, most recently as managing editor of the paper, where she helped supervise a newsroom of 600 journalists in Washington and around the world, overseeing coverage of everything from political, foreign, and financial news to investigative projects and features. Spayd’s previous job was managing editor of the Post’s website. She joined the Post in 1988 as an editor on the business desk, and before that she was business editor at the Detroit News. She earned her BA in journalism from Colorado State University in 1981.
“Journalism is shape-shifting into a form like nothing we’ve ever seen, a process that’s fascinating and invigorating but also nerve-wracking and confusing,” said Spayd. “It makes intelligent coverage of the field essential, and I hope as we fortify CJR’s mission, we’ll emerge as something of a North Star for those who care about journalism.”
Spayd’s mandate is to lead a strategic reset of CJR’s audience and editorial vision, with an eye toward ensuring rising visibility, impact, and relevance for CJR’s content through print, digital, video, and mobile channels. The magazine will continue its traditional media criticism, while also exploring and clarifying how traditional journalistic ethics apply to the digital space, as well as analyzing and evaluating new business models that have the capacity to change the profession.
“I am thrilled that Liz will be joining CJR, a flagship of the school,” said Victor Navasky, chairman of CJR, and the George T. Delacorte Professor in Magazine Journalism. “Liz is a strong editorial leader with very high standards and deep and varied experience in both legacy and digital media.”
Dean Steve Coll noted, “Liz has the skills to lead CJR into the digital era while delivering impactful journalism about the big personalities who are reshaping media, as well as subjects of great public importance, such as the recent erosion of First Amendment protections. I look forward to working closely with her.”
Spayd was selected by a search committee co-chaired by Dean Coll and Navasky, who has overseen CJR through many successful years and will remain a faculty adviser.
“I am delighted that Liz Spayd will lead the magazine at such an exciting time for the profession and for CJR,” said Emily Bell, director of Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism and a member of the search committee. “CJR plays a critical role now more than ever, to be the watchdog of journalism in all its forms.”
The magazine’s Board of Overseers, which includes prominent professionals from a range of backgrounds, will work closely with Spayd. Board members are: Chairman Neil Barsky, Stephen Adler, Emily Bell, Nathan S. Collier, Sheila Coronel, Eric Lax, Howard W. French, Wade Greene, David Kellogg, Joan Konner, Kenneth Lerer, Steve Lipin, Victor Navasky, Michael Oreskes, Josh Reibel, Randall Rothenberg, Michael Schudson, Richard Snyder, Laurel Touby, Craig Newmark, and Alex Jutkowitz.