In its short history, the Ideas section has been a happy hunting ground for other news organizations searching for top-flight editors. Here we go again.
Wen Stephenson, our talented and fiercely dedicated editor of Ideas, has been tapped by WBUR to become the Senior Producer of its "On Point" program. In his three-plus years at the Globe, as deputy editor and then editor of the section, Wen has contributed mightily to its success as a home for lively and insightful interpretation of politics, policy, arts, and popular culture. It's no wonder a radio program as intelligent and engaging as "On Point" came after him. He leaves at the end of July, and we'll miss him.
Lucky for us, the perfect replacement is close at hand: Gareth Cook, who only a couple of months ago was named the Ideas section's deputy editor. Most everyone in the newsroom already knows Gareth as a warm, smart, inspired and inspiring colleague. He was a popular editor after he joined the Globe in 1999 and subsequently distinguished himself as a spectacular science reporter, ultimately winning the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2005 for his coverage of stem cell research.
Gareth, 37, is a natural for Ideas. "I have always been interested in a wide range of things," he says. "Too many!" After he left high school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. -- a year early -- he went to Brown University, graduating in 1991 with degrees in international relations and mathematical physics. His first job was an internship at Foreign Policy, where he became an assistant editor. Then he joined U.S. News & World Report as a reporter/researcher and later Washington Monthly as an editor and frequent writer. By 1996, he was a news editor of the Boston Phoenix, working with future Globe stars Yvonne Abraham, Steve Heuser, and Ellen Barry.
In January 1999, Gareth was selected by Peter Canellos, then metro editor, to become New England Editor and later Sunday Metro Editor. At the end of 2000, he returned to writing, becoming our science reporter.
Gareth was a member of the brainstorming group that put together the idea for the Ideas section, and a story of his appeared in the first issue. "I am a huge fan of Ideas," he says. "I think it occupies a unique position in American journalism -- it's a ringside seat to the nation's intellectual life -- and I am really thrilled to be a part of it."
Gareth had a special request for this announcement: "I would like you to mention my family, if you could, because that is by far my proudest accomplishment." He lives in Jamaica Plain with wife Amanda and their two boys, Aidan, 5, and Oliver, 6 months.
Please congratulate Gareth on his new assignment and wish Wen all the best as he joins one of the country's best radio programs.