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Sewell Chan appointed executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review

June 27, 2024
Sewell Chan

Sewell Chan, the editor in chief of the Texas Tribune, will join the Columbia Journalism Review full time as the new executive editor, effective September 16, 2024. 

With over two decades in key editorial positions at leading publications across the country, Chan brings to CJR a commitment to integrity and innovative journalism that aligns closely with CJR’s mission—to be the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism. “Sewell Chan possesses a deep well of experience, incredible insights into the challenges confronting media at this moment, and an abiding passion for journalism,” said Jelani Cobb, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. “We could not be more excited about working with him as he charts a new course for the Columbia Journalism Review.” 

Most recently, Chan has led the newsroom of the Texas Tribune. Since he began, in October 2021, the nonprofit publication shared a National Magazine Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—both firsts for the organization. “Journalism faces challenges from all sides: technological disruption, changing business models, rising misinformation, and threats to democracy,” Chan said. “Since 1961, the Columbia Journalism Review has been vital to understanding journalism ethics and decision-making and the future of our craft. I believe CJR must be an essential voice for working journalists worldwide as they grapple with these challenges, while helping the public understand what journalists do and why it matters more than ever.” 

Previously, Chan worked at the Los Angeles Times, first as a deputy managing editor and then the editorial page editor, where he oversaw coverage of criminal justice reform that was awarded a Pulitzer for editorial writing in 2021. From 2004 to 2018, Chan worked at the New York Times, as a metro reporter, Washington correspondent, deputy op-ed editor, and international news editor. His career began in 2000 at the Washington Post, where he reported on local government, among other beats. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer

Chan is a native New Yorker and grew up in an immigrant family. The first in his family to finish college, he graduated from Harvard with a degree in social studies. He studied at Oxford on a British Marshall scholarship, where he received a master’s degree in politics. Chan was elected to the board of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2022 and was a 2024 fellow in the Columbia Journalism School Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program. He joined the CJR board in 2021. 

“The Columbia Journalism Review has a storied and important role in covering journalists and journalism. No one is better suited than Sewell to take CJR to new heights and audiences around the country and the world, in this challenging and crucial moment for the press,” said Rebecca Blumenstein, chair of the CJR board and NBC News president, Editorial. “I know I join Dean Cobb and the entire CJR board in saying that we look forward to working with Sewell.” 

Chan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and PEN America. He serves on the boards of the Henry Luce Foundation, Freedom House, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Harvard Magazine and on the national judging panel of the Livingston Awards. 

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CJR Editors are the staff of the Columbia Journalism Review.