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Nancy Gibbs Appointed Faculty Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center

Nancy Gibbs (left) in conversation with Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman at Harvard's Institute of Politics in October 2018.
Nancy Gibbs (left) in conversation with Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman at Harvard's Institute of Politics in October 2018. By Hayoung Hwang
By Alexandra A. Chaidez, Crimson Staff Writer

Nancy R. Gibbs, the former editor-in-chief of Time magazine, was named the faculty director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy on Tuesday.

Her term as the director will start immediately, per a press release issued Tuesday. Gibbs is currently serving as a visiting professor of press, politics, and public policy at the Kennedy School. At Harvard Kennedy School, she has taught courses about the media and journalism.

In the press release, Gibbs praised the Shorenstein Center for teaming journalists and scholars together to pursue research.

“I am honored to have the chance to shape the center’s efforts at a time in which the changing media landscape and its relationship to our democracy are so crucial,” Gibbs wrote.

In 2013, she became the first woman to serve as Time magazine’s managing editor. She is also the author of two best-selling books about presidential history.

Prior to her leadership positions at Time, Gibbs was one of the most published writers in Time’s history, penning more cover stories than any other reporter. She covered four presidential campaigns and won a National Magazine Award for her cover story in Time’s September 11, 2001 special issue.

Gibbs will replace outgoing director Nicco Mele. Mele said in an interview on Tuesday he is stepping down to work on a new book about reality television and its impact on American politics.

Mele — the former senior vice president and deputy publisher of the Los Angeles Times — will retain his position as a lecturer of public policy at the Kennedy School. He said he is “honored” to have the chance to work with Gibbs in the future.

“Nancy has a deep and exceptional understanding of the challenges facing journalism, more than almost any other journalist in America,” Mele said. “She understands the complicated relationship between media, politics, and public policy.”

Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf wrote in the press release he was “delighted” about Gibbs’ appointment.

“Nancy Gibbs is an extremely thoughtful and respected voice about the evolving role of the media in politics and society,” Elmendorf wrote. “She is distinguished by her impressive career at Time, culminating in the position of editor in chief, and by the contributions she has already made to the Kennedy School and to Harvard more broadly during her short time here.”

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

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