Joanne Lipman never forgot the moment she accepted her first full-time position in the world of journalism. While attending Yale, she interned at The Wall Street Journal. Lipman eventually joined the paper as a reporter upon completing her degree.
“Getting that job right after I graduated had pretty much been my life goal up until that point,” Lipman said. “I remember telling myself anything else that ever happens to me will all be gravy.”
Following an illustrious career at the Journal, and later at Conde Nast, she recently found herself once again on the receiving end of another intriguing job offer—serving as USA Today’s editor-in-chief.
“My office is on the newsroom floor of USA Today so I’ve been deeply involved in setting the strategy for the network with USA Today as the flagship,” Lipman said. “We’re all excited about where this company is going.”
Lipman originally joined Gannett, owner of USA Today, as chief content officer of the USA Today Network in December 2015, a position she will retain.
In her expanded role, Lipman said she plans to continue focus on collaboration between the USA Today Network and the flagship paper. The network maintains a pool of more than 3,000 journalists at 110 publications across the country.
“We have boots on the ground and reporters deeply connected to their local community in red states, blue states, big cities, small towns and rural areas,” she said. “It gives us this unique perspective and ability to do reporting that no other national news organization can match.”
In its first full year of existence, the USA Today Network was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the category of Investigative Reporting for a series on abusive teachers. According to Lipman, the project was led by the investigative team at USA Today who then distributed the data it collected to all properties in the network.
“We ended up with reporters all over the country being able to localize those stories for their markets while also contributing reporting of their own,” Lipman said. “That series showed both the power of the network and our commitment to investigative journalism which is something Gannett has had since long before I ever got here.”
Another priority for Lipman will be to focus on innovation across all categories, including social media, video, new digital formats, virtual reality and drone reporting.
“One of things I talk about a lot with the newsroom is to think about USA Today when it was created in 1982. At the time, it was revolutionary, brand new, innovative and broke every rule,” she said. “We know what those qualities meant back then, but what do they mean in 2017? We want to think about fulfilling those qualities for today’s world.”