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Loth exits Globe ed page, Canellos back to Boston

Word out of Morrissey Boulevard is that Renee Loth, the Globe's editorial-page editor, told her staff today that she'll be stepping down, apparently to write an op-ed page column. 

Her replacement is Peter Canellos, the Globe's Washington bureau chief. I've heard from one source that Canellos (like Loth, a Phoenix alum) will also be taking over the Globe's Ideas section, but haven't yet confirmed that. If so, the move could have interesting implications for the Globe's organizational structure: until now, the ed page has been an independent entity, editorially speaking--but Ideas falls under editor Marty Baron's authority.

Given the crucial role of the Globe's editorial page in shaping public opinion around Boston, this is a big change. It's also going to raise questions about the long-term viability of the Globe's Washington bureau, which has been staunchly protected by editor Marty Baron at a time when other papers are pulling out of D.C. (Note: Baron's memo, which follows, suggests that the Globe's commitment to maintaining a presence in Washington remains intact.) And--in the wake of the departures of Ellen Clegg, Mary Jane Wilkinson, and Fiona Luis--it leaves the Globe's masthead with one woman, Christine Chinlund.

More as it develops.

UPDATE: Memos from editor Marty Baron and publisher Steve Ainsley follow. Ainsley speaks of Canellos "determining with the publisher the paper's official stance on major issues facing the region and the world," which suggests the ed page's independence from Baron will continue.Baron's memo, meanwhile, was followed by a note saying that Gareth Cook (still another Phoenix alum) will remain editor of Ideas, where he's done a "supeb job," while also reporting to Canellos.

To all:

As nice as it will be to have Peter Canellos back in Boston -- and though he’ll perform spectacularly well as editorial page editor, as he has in so many key positions at the Globe -- I know that all of us will feel a loss  as Peter moves out of our news operations and into the realm of opinion.

We have been fortunate to have Peter most recently as our Washington bureau chief, where his leadership and editing skills have brought national distinction to the Globe. There is a lot I could mention: Providing the editorial guidance for journalism that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting comes to mind, of course. So does his commanding role as editor of the Globe’s recent biography of the state’s senior senator, “Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy.”

Last year, all of us marveled at how Peter could juggle coverage of the presidential campaign with his National Perspective column, the onslaught of other stories in Washington, and his work on the magnificent Kennedy book. A common remark heard around the newsroom: “I don’t know how Peter does it all.”

And he does it all so well. Lucky for me, Peter was our metro editor when I joined the Globe eight years ago. I quickly came to know his creativity, intelligence, and impressive work ethic. He has an eye for talent, and builds a strong bond with his staff.

Now, lucky for the Globe, we have Peter to step in when my friend and colleague, Renee Loth, steps away from her position as editor of the editorial page. Renee brought passion, enormous dedication, and an astonishing breadth of knowledge to such a vital job. So will Peter.

As Peter takes on this new job, we’re making an organizational shift, too. Peter will oversee the Ideas section, in addition to editorials, op-eds, and letters. As Peter was considering this new role, I raised the possibility of folding the Ideas section into his new responsibilities. Peter has a special affection and affinity for the section. He was instrumental in launching it. And there is a natural relationship between Ideas stories and the op-ed page.

We now launch a search for a top-notch replacement for Peter in our  important Washington bureau. We remain firmly committed to our coverage out of Washington, where Massachusetts politicians play a central role in policy-making, where so many professionals from Massachusetts populate a new administration, and where so much of what happens has a direct impact on Massachusetts residents. Those interested in the position should let Caleb and me know.

Please join me in congratulating Peter on his new job and wishing Renee all the best as she becomes a regular op-ed columnist.

Marty

------- 

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce Peter Canellos, our Washington bureau chief, is being appointed editor, Editorial Page, succeeding Renée Loth  who has guided the Globe’s Editorial Page with distinction since 2000.   Renée will be leaving the Globe in that capacity but will in turn become a weekly columnist for the op-ed page. Peter will also assume responsibility for the weekly Ideas section.

I’d like to thank Renee for her leadership not only at the Globe but in no small measure within the Boston community.  In her nine years as editor Renee has guided the editorial board to smart, principled positions that have earned the respect of opinion leaders and ordinary readers alike.  She has aimed to make the editorial page reflect the kind of society we want: tolerant, fair, innovative, and courageous.

In her near quarter century at the Globe Renée rose steadily through the ranks to her current role which, not incidentally, makes her the highest ranking woman on the news end of our operations.  Renée came to the Globe in 1985 as a writer for the Sunday Globe magazine.  Prior to that she had worked in Boston newspapers and magazines since graduating from Boston University’s journalism school.

Renée was able to pursue her passion for politics with a return engagement at the State House, reprising a role she had first served with the Boston Phoenix . She held a stint as the Globe's Focus writer and spent 1992 covering the presidential campaign, inaugurating the popular "Adwatch" column analyzing campaign ads. She became political editor in 1993, and then deputy editor of the editorial page for 6 years and then became editor, succeeding David Greenway in May, 2000.

I know she's particularly proud of the Globe's early support for gay marriage, our pursuit of governmental reform at all levels, support for the less advantaged, and the fact that we were the first metro daily newspaper n the country to endorse Barack Obama.

It has been a distinct privilege to work alongside her.  As a regular columnist for the op-ed page, Renée tells me she will be returning to her first love: writing. In this role she says she wants to continue to knit the Globe into the civic life of Boston.

As Editorial Page editor, Mr. Canellos will oversee the Globe’s editorial board, determining with the publisher the paper's official stance on major issues facing the region and the world.  He will also oversee the paper's op-ed columnists, letters to the editor, and commentary sections both in print and online and have responsibility for the Sunday Globe’s Ideas section.

A Boston native and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter also holds a law degree from Columbia University. He joined the Globe in 1988, and has served as City Hall bureau chief, Metro editor, and participated in the coverage of four presidential elections.  In 2007, he served as editor of the Globe's seven-part series on the life and political record of Mitt Romney, a series that included extensive online and multimedia components. He also served as editor of the Globe's recent seven-part series on the life of Ted Kennedy, which has won national praise for both its content and its multimedia presentation. Peter's vision of these pages is similar to Renée's - to create a special bond with Boston and its readers.  He has plans to add distinctive voices to the op-ed page and expand the paper's forums for online commentary to allow greater debate among newsmakers, writers, and Globe readers.  His overall goal is to provide the breadth of perspective that helps readers reach their own conclusions about major issues.  Given his long history with the Globe in a variety of important roles I feel fortunate to have him stepping in as editorial page editor at this critical juncture in our history.

He joined the Globe in 1988, and has served as City Hall bureau chief, metro editor, and a national roving reporter during two presidential elections.  In 2007, he served as editor of the Globe's seven-part series on the life and political record of Mitt Romney, a series that included extensive online and multimedia components. He also served as editor of the Globe's recent seven-part series on the life of Ted Kennedy, which has won nnational praise for both its content and its multi-media presentation.

I am very excited about Peter’s taking on the editorship of the Globe’s editorial pages. Peter’s many years of covering metro Boston, his distinguished leadership of our Washington bureau, his clear insight and passion make him an excellent choice and a strong voice for the region. Peter played a critical role in the creation of the Ideas section and so expanding his role to include this important part of the Sunday Globe is a perfect fit.

Please join me in congratulating both Peter and Renée.

-- Steve
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