Boston Globe Media chief executive Linda Henry has sent a memo to the staff about the pending departure of Brian McGrory, forwarded to me once again by a trusted source.
Next chapter for Brian McGrory
Around his third year as editor, Brian told me that this was a 7 to 10 year role for him. He understood the demands of the position as well as the constantly evolving needs of this organization. While the 10 years always seemed safely far away, Brian was apparently being precise, because he restarted the conversation earlier this year in advance of his pending 10-year anniversary. We’ve been talking thoughtfully in the months since about what’s next – for Brian and for the newsroom.
Brian misses his column – a fact he can barely conceal. Many of our readers still talk about his column – with the humor, the humanity, and the insight that he brought to our pages – even, surprisingly, folks from Hingham. His dream when he was young and delivering the paper was to write for The Boston Globe, and luckily for us and our readers, that is what his next chapter will include – a return to column-writing at the Globe, this time on the Opinion side. He will also be channeling his talents and experience to help the next generation of journalists as he takes on the prestigious role as Professor of the Practice and Chair of the Journalism Department in the College of Communication at Boston University.
For the past ten years, Brian has been a vital part of the leadership of this organization as we embarked on a radical transformation. He gave the Globe the greatest advantage that a media organization can have: unrelentingly high journalistic standards, an innovative mindset, and a deep commitment to the communities that we proudly serve. How many times has he told us, and then told us again, that we needed to be the paper of interest, not the paper of record, and that we had to be “relentlessly interesting”?
When John and I joined the Globe in 2013, we were dealing with an enormous amount of pressure and change at once: building a new production facility, reworking the business model, rebuilding the entire digital infrastructure, launching Stat, building and moving to modern offices, investing in data analytics, and so much more. Through all of that, Brian was there to share his deep understanding of journalism, his decades of institutional knowledge, and was helping us drive the kinds of new strategies that would help grow and sustain our business – all while keeping the newsroom grounded in its mission and values. As part of our Senior Leadership Team, Brian forged strong partnerships with other departments in the organization, experimenting together on ways to amplify our journalism and to attract and retain subscribers.
As editor, Brian has led with humanity and empathy, steering the Globe’s coverage through a decade of some of the biggest and most challenging stories in our region’s history and of our time – including the Boston Marathon bombings, a national racial reckoning, and a global pandemic. He has overseen the incredible journalism that has resulted in the Globe newsroom winning three Pulitzer Prizes (Opinion won another two in that time). The newsroom has been finalists an additional twelve times, and along with a long list of other national awards, the Globe is currently a finalist for the Online Journalism Awards General Excellence in Online Journalism category for the second year in a row.
His effort to lead a reinvention of the Globe’s newsroom engaged the entire staff and created new roles, beats, and departments, to drive changes within our industry and to lay the groundwork for strong digital growth. Today, the Globe is arguably the most successful regional news organization in the country.
As the Globe celebrates its 150th anniversary, we have tremendous appreciation for the incredible contributions of everyone across the organization. John and I are especially grateful for Brian’s leadership, which has made its mark on Globe history. He has thoughtfully provided us with ample time to conduct a broad and inclusive search for his successor, as he will stay on as editor through the end of the year or until our next newsroom leader is in place. Brian has nurtured a strong newsroom leadership team and we are well-positioned for the transition. Our search for the next editor has begun, and we will look across the entire industry to find our next leader to maintain and enhance our high standards of journalism and commitment to our community while continuing our growth and innovation as a modern media company. Your thoughts are welcome.
Our role in the community is as important as ever, and we are continuing to grow and invest in our long term future. I hope you’ll join me in thanking Brian for his immeasurable contributions and to wish him luck in his next chapter, which we are thrilled will include his voice in our pages.