Liz Spayd named editor-in-chief of ‘CJR’

Liz Spayd. (Courtesy CJR)
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Liz Spayd has been named editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journalism Review, Capital has learned.

The Washington Post alumna replaces Cyndi Stivers, who resigned in May to take a job as editor-in-chief of AOL.com.

"We’re very excited about Liz’s arrival and have high hopes that she will lead CJR into a new era of influence and digital adaptation," Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll, himself a Post veteran, wrote in a Thursday morning internal announcement obtained by Capital. (Columbia Journalism School publishes CJR.)

As Capital recently reported, the editor hunt had narrowed on Spayd and Eric Bates, the former executive editor of Rolling Stone. But Bates took a job at Glenn Greenwald's forthcoming news startup instead.

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Spayd's appointment ends a six-month search that began as a budget shortfall prompted the magazine to cut the positions of several staff members, including longtime executive editor Mike Hoyt.

UPDATE: Spayd did not immediately respond to a request for comment shortly after this item was first published, but in a press released issued a couple hours later, she said: “I hope as we fortify CJR’s mission, we'll emerge as something of a North Star for those who care about journalism.”

The release also notes Spayd will double as publisher of the bi-monthly magazine and its website, stating that her "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."

CJR will continue its "traditional media criticism," the statement continues, "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."

You can read Coll's full memo on Spayd's appointment below:

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to share with you the news that we have recruited a new Editor-in-Chief for the Columbia Journalism Review. She is Elizabeth Spayd, a former managing editor of the Washington Post and leader of digital news there, among many roles. We’re very excited about Liz’s arrival and have high hopes that she will lead CJR into a new era of influence and digital adaptation.

Many thanks to Victor Navasky, who co-chaired the search with great wisdom and persistence. We reviewed many candidates and interviewed something like ten semi-finalists and finalists before selecting Liz. As mentioned, our intention is to re-integrate CJR into the school, to draw upon your talent, students and guest speakers (on a purely voluntary basis!) to rev up the franchise's flow of daily and deeper magazine content. I think you will recognize Liz as a peer and good colleague and I know she is anxious to introduce herself to you as she settles in. Her formal start date is January 1. Her email is [redacted] if you'd like to drop her a note or otherwise be in touch.

Bests,

Steve