‘CJR’ preparing to name new editor-in-chief

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Columbia Journalism Review, the media-industry bible whose top masthead slot has been vacant since the spring, is expected to announce a new editor-in-chief soon.

Sources familiar with the process told Capital that the search had recently focused on at least two top candidates: Liz Spayd and Eric Bates, who previously held senior newsroom positions at The Washington Post and Rolling Stone, respectively.

Spayd had become the Post's first female managing editor before leaving the paper last year. She worked there with Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School, which publishes CJR.

Bates was the executive editor of Rolling Stone until January, when he was laid off. He's also worked as the investigative editor of Mother Jones and is currently listed as a scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge, a social-research unit at N.Y.U.

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Attempts to reach Spayd and Bates for comment were unsuccessful. It's possible either has already accepted an offer or dropped out of the running, or that there's a dark horse lurking in the wings, sources cautioned.

Reached by phone, Coll declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Columbia Journalism School did not immediately have a comment when reached via email.

The CJR editorship is a prestigious gig within the journalism business. But the job also comes with a bit of baggage.

As we reported back in May, the bi-monthly magazine and daily website laid off several staffers, including longtime executive editor Mike Hoyt, due to concerns over revenues, which are generated from a combination of advertising, subscriptions, grants and foundation funding.

The layoffs followed the resignation of Cyndi Stivers, who'd served as editor-in-chief for two years but left for the same title at AOL.com. Managing editor Brent Cunningham has been at the helm on an interim basis.