The Poynter Institute announced Monday that its new president will be Neil Brown, the editor and vice president of The Tampa Bay Times.
“I am honored to join Poynter, where imagination and integrity have been hallmarks in helping journalists get better at what they do and stay relevant in how they do it,” Brown said.
Brown, 59, started at The Tampa Bay Times — then St. Petersburg Times — as world editor in 1993. He was promoted to a series of leadership roles, including managing editor and executive editor. He became the paper’s editor in 2010.
Under Brown’s leadership, The Tampa Bay Times has won six Pulitzer Prizes in the last eight years. Last year, the newspaper won Pulitzer Prizes for local reporting and investigative reporting.
“From more than 100 candidates, Neil emerged as the leader who will help Poynter build upon its success as a place that improves journalism and strengthens democracy, both across the United States and around the world,” said Paul Tash, the chairman of Poynter’s board and the board of The Tampa Bay Times Company. “That purpose has never been more essential.”
Brown’s replacement at The Tampa Bay Times has not yet been announced. He will start at The Poynter Institute in a few weeks.
Brown arrives at the end of a three-month search for Poynter’s next president, which began after Brown’s predecessor, Tim Franklin, was hired to be senior associate dean at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Andy Corty, the publisher of The Tampa Bay Times Company’s Florida Trend magazine, served as interim president.
Brown’s appointment comes at a time of great change for The Poynter Institute. The institute is on the cusp of completing a year-long project aimed at unifying its news and training content under a single web domain. The Institute has multiple faculty positions open and is expanding its International Fact-checking Network.
The finances of The Poynter Institute improved dramatically during Franklin’s tenure. After several consecutive years of reporting seven-figure losses, Poynter reported last year a surplus of $900,000 for 2015 (it still posted a $1.3 million operating loss for that year). Poynter’s finances have improved since then — the institute has had four consecutive quarters of operating surpluses and is budgeted to break even in 2017.