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Gannett Names Joanne Lipman USA Today’s Editor-in-Chief

Variety logo Variety 3/20/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Gannett Co. announced that Joanne Lipman has been appointed editor-in-chief of USA Today, in addition to her existing responsibilities as the publishing company’s chief content officer.

Lipman, former deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, joined Gannett in December 2015 as chief content officer. She had already overseen editorial for the USA Today Network, which comprises the national daily and Gannett’s 100 local publications and encompasses some 3,000 journalists. Lipman will continue to serve as chief content officer, reporting to Maribel Wadsworth, Gannett’s senior VP and chief transformation officer.

USA Today’s previous editor-in-chief, David Callaway, left the newspaper in the summer of 2016 to become CEO of financial-news publisher TheStreet. Patty Michalski, who had served as interim EIC for USA Today, has been named senior director of digital audience development for USA Today Network and executive editor of digital for USA Today.

Lipman began her career as a reporter for the Journal, ultimately rising to deputy managing editor – the first woman to attain that post – and supervising coverage that won three Pulitzer Prizes. While at the WSJ, she created Weekend Journal and Personal Journal and oversaw creation of the paper’s Saturday edition. She subsequently was founding editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Conde Nast Portfolio business magazine.

Like the rest of the industry, USA Today has been pummeled by the decline of print publishing but it remains one of the only national newspapers along with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Gannett says USA Today reaches nearly 3 million readers daily, across print, digital, social and video platforms, and its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 23 million times.

Gannett reps claimed that Lipman is USA Today’s first official female EIC. But while that may be technically true, the newspaper previously had a top editor who was a woman: Karen Jurgensen, who was named editor in 1999 before resigning in 2004 after it came to light that one USA Today’s reporters had fabricated several major stories published in the paper.

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