The Boston Globe on Wednesday named Bina Venkataraman as its new editorial page editor. The 39-year-old Somerville resident brings a varied background as a journalist, author, and thinker on environmental and science matters to one of the highest profile jobs at New England’s largest media company.
In a statement Wednesday, Venkataraman said she wants to see the Globe amplify “diverse voices of our city and better showcase Boston’s groundbreaking ideas and knowledge, while holding our leaders and institutions accountable for meeting high expectations for public service.”
“The Globe Opinion section has the opportunity to feature more of the voices and perspectives that hail from the many Bostons that exist today,” she said. “We have the chance to reflect the richness of this region’s vibrant neighborhoods and cultures, its world-class thinkers and community activists, its history-keepers and technology trailblazers.”
During a brief phone interview Wednesday evening, Venkataraman spoke of the importance of level-headed editorials at a time when the country is at “perhaps a historic level of political polarization.”
“There are a lot of opinions in our media environment right now, and a lot of people are able to offer their opinions, so it raises the bar for what we produce,” she said.
Venkataraman has lectured on science communication, science writing, and the shaping of science policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2011. She is currently a fellow at the think tank New America, and the director of global policy initiatives at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She will assume her Globe position in November.
A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Kennedy School, Venkataraman has previously covered health and science for the Globe, and had stints as a Globe metro correspondent and on the Globe’s editorial board. She also worked on the science desk of The New York Times. In 2013 and 2014, she served as a senior adviser for climate change innovation in the Obama White House.
Her book, “The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age,” was released in late August. On Wednesday, she said the book “dispels the myth that human nature and human society is condemned to be short-sighted.”
“It’s about how we can reclaim the ability to think about the future and plan for the future,” she said.
In announcing the hire, the Globe’s managing director, Linda Henry, called the paper’s editorial board “one of the strongest and most vibrant editorial boards in the country.”
“We tackle big issues in bold ways as well as subtle and everyday challenges,” she said. “We thoughtfully look for ways to advocate, to progress, and to help others use their voices to inform and inspire others. We are thrilled and fortunate to add Bina’s perspective and leadership to our board.”
Venkataraman takes over the role from Ellen Clegg, who retired last year. Globe business columnist Shirley Leung served as interim editorial page editor before returning to her column this spring.