James Dao, a senior editor at The New York Times with three decades of experience in its newsroom and opinion department, has been named The Boston Globe’s editorial page editor, chief executive Linda Henry said on Tuesday.
Dao, 64, is set to join the Globe on July 5. His predecessor, Bina Venkataraman, stepped down earlier this year to become an editor at large.
The Globe’s editorial page editor oversees editorials, opinion columns, the Ideas section, and letters to the editor. The opinion department is separate from the newsroom, and Dao will report to Henry.
Henry said Dao’s wide-ranging career — he has reported on wars, edited local and national news, and overseen the Times’ opinion columns and Sunday Review section — made him the compelling choice for the Globe.
“He’s an exceptionally seasoned journalist,” she said. “He has done some really interesting and bold projects.”
Dao has run the Times’ metro coverage for the past 13 months, and before that was an education editor on the national desk. He was the paper’s deputy opinion editor from February 2016 until June 2020. During his tenure, the opinion section won a Pulitzer Prize for a graphic narrative about Syrian refugees.
Under Venkataraman, the Globe expanded and diversified the opinion section, pushed it further into the digital age, and oversaw two projects — one on housing, the other on the future of the presidency — that were named as Pulitzer Prize finalists in editorial writing.
Dao said he was drawn to the Globe because “it is such a good paper, and such an influential paper, not just regionally but also nationally. . . . Compared to the Times, it’s a relatively small staff that punches above its weight.”
Dao started on the Times metro desk in 1992 and the following year was assigned to its bureau in Albany, N.Y., where he was later named bureau chief. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1998 and covered a range of beats, including Congress, the 2000 presidential campaign, the Iraq invasion, and the Pentagon and State Department.
He did two tours as a national correspondent — one covering the mid-Atlantic states, from 2003 to 2006, and a second covering military and veterans affairs, from 2009 to 2013. In between he worked as deputy metro editor.
In 2010 and 2011, he reported “A Year at War,” an eight-part series about deployment of an Army battalion in Afghanistan that won an Emmy for multimedia journalism. He was also executive producer on the Netflix documentary “Soldier Father Son,” which was based on the life of an Army sergeant first profiled in “A Year at War.”
Dao stepped down as deputy opinion editor in 2020 when his boss, James Bennet, resigned from the Times amid a furor caused by a column written by Republican Senator Tom Cotton. The Times said the essay — which advocated for the use of US troops to put down civil unrest then roiling the country — was the result of a “rushed editorial process” and “did not meet our standards.”
Dao, who returned to the newsroom, defended the opinion department staffer who edited Cotton’s essay.
“I oversaw the acceptance and review of the Cotton Op-Ed,” he tweeted at the time. “The fault here should be directed at the @nytopinion leadership team and not at an intrepid and highly competent junior staffer.”
Dao grew up in Williamsville, N.Y., outside Buffalo. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in history. He is married with three adult children.