Columbia Journalism Review starts search for editor-in-chief

June 8, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

Romenesko Misc.
The job description says: “The editor-in-chief provides the editorial vision and voice, supervises a professional editorial staff of nine plus a large team of freelancers, and manages an editorial budget of more than $1M annually to make CJR a must-read for journalists, media professionals, and all thought leaders concerned with the role (and survival) of a free press in civil society.” I asked CJR executive editor Mike Hoyt about the new position. His response:

There is no editor in chief now, but when one arrives I’ll report to him or her, and will remain executive editor and help run the place. The editor in chief position was made possible by a funder, and I think part of the idea is somebody who enjoys meeting funders and being on future-of-journalism panels more than I do. I would rather go to the dentist than be on a panel. My plan is to put together our 50th anniversary issue (November), then help this new person and this great staff launch CJR into its next 50 years, and also to write for and the magazine, something I am very much looking forward to doing.

More information about the job, including how to apply, is after the jump.

Job Title: Editor-in-Chief

Department: Columbia Journalism Review

Reports to: Chair, Columbia Journalism Review


Columbia Journalism Review, on the verge of its fiftieth birthday, is the world’s oldest and best-known journal dedicated to the performance of the press. Like journalism itself, CJR is now at a moment of transition. Its attention, historically focused on the editorial side of journalism, is turning as well to the economics and public policies undergirding the profession, because these are so much in flux. Now that it publishes daily online, CJR must continue to master the art of responding quickly to events in the press as they unfold, as well as treating them thoughtfully and provocatively in print.

Reporting to the Chairman of CJR and working closely with the Publisher and the Board of Overseers, the editor-in-chief oversees the creation and production of a bi-monthly media criticism and thought leadership magazine with a circulation approaching 20,000 and a vibrant website ( that receives over 125,000 unique visitors a month. The editor-in-chief provides the editorial vision and voice, supervises a professional editorial staff of nine plus a large team of freelancers, and manages an editorial budget of more than $1M annually to make CJR a must-read for journalists, media professionals, and all thought leaders concerned with the role (and survival) of a free press in civil society.

The incumbent is the public face of CJR and is a strategic partner for the business side staff, and works with it on fundraising, revenue generation, and other projects to build readership and enhance the organization’s editorial resources and its leadership in journalism.


Support the mission of the organization. The individual leading CJR must have a deep, abiding, and unwavering commitment to the mission of the organization. CJR is not just a publishing operation, it is the source for journalists interested in continuous improvement of their craft and citizens passionate about the role of journalism in a democratic society. So this executive should be able to be both the internal and external embodiment of these values.

Provide editorial direction to enhance the influence and prestige of the magazine, as measured by circulation strength, reader satisfaction, and editorial awards. Create new features and content that will resonate with readers and advertisers. Evolve and refine the magazine over time as necessary.

Manage the creative efforts of staff and freelance writers, editors, designers, illustrators, and photographers to produce a magazine and website with provocative features, varied contributors, and innovative production values. Develop the current team while attracting new talent. Maintain the highest ethical and publishing standards.

Enhance CJR’s digital offerings on the web and through interactive applications. Continue to accelerate engagement metrics including traffic, contributions, blog postings, and video content.

Engage the Board of Overseers and business side staff in strategic editorial decisions and planning. Support the financial vision and plans, including augmenting grant proposals, participating in fundraising, monitoring budgets, developing content towards new distribution opportunities, and providing a thoughtful platform for advertising and other income-generating strategies such as events and other programming.

Initiate and manage alliances and partnerships that benefit the mission of CJR and complement the partners’ activities. These organizations can include other content provider, or institutions such as libraries, museums, cultural organizations, etc.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


Reports to Chairman of Columbia Journalism Review. Works closely with the Publisher and Board of Overseers. Manages nine professional editors directly, and oversees the work of over a hundred freelancers.


Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree desired.

Minimum of 8-10 years writing, editing, and/or management in a journalistic setting required. A high level of magazine and/or digital journalism production competence and experience highly desired.

Other Desired Skills:
The incumbent should have professional authority in journalism, be an effective public speaker, familiar and at ease with high visibility, and possess strong writing and interpersonal skills.

As a supervisor and mentor, the incumbent needs to be an effective manager of people, with an eye for recruiting and retaining talented editorial staff and with significant experience in staff development and performance management. Must also be able to initiate and create a highly creative environment where innovative ideas are produced and flourish.

As the leader of a magazine and website, the incumbent should possess acute journalistic ability and inventiveness to evaluate and guide the quality of editorial products. This includes high levels of visual judgment to ensure art direction that meets or exceeds audience sensibilities (including photography, graphic treatment of words, charts/illustrations and covers).

The Editor-in-Chief needs strong knowledge of the financial parameters of magazine and digital journalism production and the ability to partner with the publisher to meet fiscal goals. The incumbent should have a track record of prudent budget management and proactive cost containment.



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