Pizzuti Henry takes charge at the Globe
Names Leung interim editorial page editor
NOW WE KNOW what a managing director does at the Boston Globe: She runs the place.
After a long period in which Linda Pizzuti Henry took on more and more responsibility at the newspaper but shied away from saying she was in charge, the tune changed on Monday. Pizzuti Henry announced in a memo to the newspaper’s staff that business columnist Shirley Leung would take over as the interim editorial page editor, replacing the retiring Ellen Clegg.
The appointment of an editorial page editor is one of the chief responsibilities of the publisher. While John Henry retains that title, it was Pizzuti Henry, the managing director, who made the announcement. Her constant use of the pronoun “we,” which mirrored the approach taken by John Henry in a recent email interview, confirms that Pizzuti Henry and her husband are two sides of the same coin.
“Because we are at such a critical juncture, we want to make certain that we take our time to think strategically about the board, who the next permanent leader will be, and how it will be organized,” Pizzuti Henry wrote. “To accomplish that, we need the strength of a courageous thinker, someone who knows both the newsroom and the world of opinion well, and who knows how to challenge assumptions.”
Under Clegg, the Globe’s editorial page tried some innovative approaches (remember the mock front page in 2016 imagining the headlines if Donald Trump were to win the presidency?) and became a lot less predictable. The page’s strong stand in favor of building a new natural gas pipeline into the region shocked environmental advocates who once looked upon the paper as a reliable ally.
Leung, the first person of color to hold the editorial page editor’s position, is an interesting choice. She’s tough, aggressive, and opinionated. Her columns suggest someone who is politically independent, friendly to the business community, and eager to embrace big ideas. She is perhaps best known for her strong support of efforts to lure the Olympics to Boston, a campaign that divided the city and crashed and burned in spectacular fashion.The Leung appointment says a lot about Pizzuti Henry. It also says a lot about her emerging role at the newspaper. At the end of a 2017 Boston Magazine profile of Pizzuti Henry, which charted her rise in the newspaper’s power structure, she confided: “I don’t want to be the one speaking on behalf of the Globe,” she said. “Yet.”
Those days are over.