The New York Times names new leader to expand ideas journalism

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After nine years at Opinion, Max Strasser will shepherd Ideas, tapping into big thinking around the newsroom.

Almost a year ago, Joe asked us to create a new initiative for ideas journalism at The Times. The premise was this: In a complex and changing world, there’s a huge and untapped opportunity for our journalists to take on deep, explanatory pieces that introduce the ideas shaping the beats they report on. This impulse led, last October, to the creation of a new weekly feature, slugged Ideas.

Since Ideas launched, we’ve worked with writers across desks to produce a new piece of explanatory journalism each weekend, on such wide-ranging topics as the long shadow of colonialism (International), the theory of “degrowth” (Books), the war on the SAT (The Morning), the rise of “Mid TV” (Culture), the problem of the “medium friend” (Well), the new science of alcohol risk (Magazine) and the rise of “evangelical raunch” (National).

Now, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve hired an editor to expand this initiative, and to turn ideas journalism into a permanent fixture of The Times’s coverage. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Max Strasser as our new Ideas editor.

Max joins us after nine years at Opinion, where he was, most recently, in charge of Sunday Opinion. During his time in that role, Max edited cover stories on topics ranging from Nazi memorabilia to microplastics to America’s aging prison population. He has also been Lydia Polgreen’s editor since she returned to The Times as a columnist in 2022, while she reported everywhere from Alabama to Syria. Before that, Max was based in The Times’s London office, overseeing international coverage for Opinion through Brexit, the Hong Kong protests and the early days of the Covid pandemic.

“Max is every writer’s dream: a brilliant thought partner, a nimble hand on the editing keyboard and, most importantly, a truth teller, either gentle or tough, depending on what the situation calls for,” Lydia says. “He is the kind of editor who gives you not just the courage but also the support to think bigger and swing farther than you ever thought you could.”

Like The Great Read, Ideas is an initiative that works across desks, enlisting their reporters and editors to create pieces of enterprise. In his new role, Max will be meeting with people all around the newsroom to talk about the big ideas on their beats and brainstorming stories to explore them. He’ll also be a regular presence in our enterprise conversations, helping to find idea-forward angles on the major stories of the moment. It’s our hope that in the months and years to come, the Ideas project will spill out far beyond the weekend slot to infuse the whole report with more and deeper thinking.

Max starts Thursday, July 18. Please join us in welcoming him to the newsroom!

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