Business & Tech

Shirley Leung named interim editorial page editor at The Boston Globe

Boston, MA - 3/15/2018 - Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung in Boston, MA, Mar. 15, 2018. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
Keith Bedford/Globe Staff
Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung

Shirley Leung, a Boston Globe columnist who has explored topics ranging from business and politics to gender issues in the workplace, will become interim editorial page editor, replacing Ellen Clegg, who retired last week, the newspaper announced Monday.

In a note to staff, Linda Pizzuti Henry, the Globe’s managing director, said Leung would serve as the leader of the editorial board for the next six months, beginning Aug. 27.

“Shirley has been a bold voice in Boston, writing an impactful, must-read, often counterintuitive column in our business section for the past five years,” Henry wrote, adding that while she was reluctant to lose Leung’s column in the news pages, “I could not be more excited about this new role for her.”

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Henry indicated that Leung would serve in the role while the newspaper searches for a permanent editorial page editor.

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“Because we are at such a critical juncture, we want to make certain that we take our time to think strategically about the board, who the next permanent leader will be, and how it will be organized,” she wrote. “To accomplish that, we need the strength of a courageous thinker, someone who knows both the newsroom and the world of opinion well, and who knows how to challenge assumptions.”

Leung will be the 5th woman and the first person of color to hold the job in the Globe’s 142-year history. Her appointment came several days after more than 400 newspapers, in a push organized by the Globe’s editorial board, published editorials supporting the free press and denouncing President Trump’s attacks on the news media.

“The Globe’s editorial board last week spoke loudly and with purpose with its #FreePress initiative driving a national conversation on the role of journalism,“ Leung said in a statement. “I am proud and humbled to take on this new post and have my voice join theirs.”

Leung, 46, was a three-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Commentary. This year, she was named to Boston magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the city. Leung is also a contributor to WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio” and “Greater Boston” and a regular guest on New England Cable News.

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Before becoming a columnist, she was the Globe’s business editor, where she oversaw coverage of the 2008 financial crisis.

Before joining the Globe in 2004, she was a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Princeton University, Leung started her career at her hometown paper, The Baltimore Sun. She lives in Milton with her husband and two sons.

Clegg retired Monday after a career that spanned more than three decades at the Globe and included roles as deputy managing editor for news operations and deputy managing editor for the Boston Sunday Globe.

Clegg was officially named editorial page editor in 2015, after she was appointed to the position on an interim basis, replacing Peter Canellos.

Under her leadership, the page garnered national attention for pieces that broke the traditional format for opinion journalism, including “Make It Stop,” a 2016 interactive feature calling for an assault weapons ban to help curb mass shootings, and a mock front page during the 2016 presidential election that imagined what the headlines would be like if Donald Trump were elected president.

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Last week, a Globe editorial board initiative encouraged newspapers nationwide to publish editorials expressing support for the free press and denouncing Trump’s attacks on the news media.

More than 400 newspapers participated, ranging from national outlets such as The New York Times to small community newspapers. Trump responded by unleashing a tirade on Twitter that blasted the media as the “OPPOSITION PARTY” and accused the Globe of “collusion” for organizing the effort.

In her note to staff, Henry praised Clegg’s tenure as editorial page editor.

“She has been a terrific leader, having established an incredible board and having acted as a true role model for this important post that requires a balanced, open perspective,” Henry wrote. “She leaves at a really important time in our history, both inside and outside the organization, and, as you saw last week, a really important time for this board.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.