April 4, 2012 — The University of Virginia today announced the appointment of Donovan Webster as interim editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, the University's award-winning magazine. The University will launch a national search in July to fill the position. VQR editor Ted Genoways, who led the publication to an unprecedented six National Magazine Awards during his nine years of service, has resigned effective May 31 to pursue his writing career.
"Ted has been an outstanding editor," said Thomas C. Skalak, U.Va. vice president for research. "Under his direction, VQR built a devoted following and an unparalleled record of recognition. Ted stewarded and expanded VQR's mission by publishing the best long-form reporting, photojournalism and literature, exploring current events with a unique cultural sensibility. He also carried VQR's tradition forward, earning awards for online reporting and multi-media journalism such as Assignment Afghanistan in 2011.
"Most recently, Ted navigated VQR through a period of restructuring, positioning VQR for future growth. He leaves the organization editorially reinvigorated and financially and operationally sound, at a time when many magazines and media companies are facing uncertain futures," Skalak said. "We are fortunate to have the acclaimed journalist and author Donovan Webster leading our editorial team during this transition."
Currently serving as deputy editor, Webster brings a wealth of experience to VQR. A former senior editor for Outside magazine, he writes for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine, as well as the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the author of several books. He also teaches in the University's Media Studies department.
"My goal is to expose our readers to new cultures, issues and people, whether through literature or reporting. We will cover Burma, but also Hollywood," Webster said. "We will explore crises and their underlying causes, and also the innovators who are creating solutions."
Genoways is pleased to be able to turn his attention to his work as a writer. He was recently appointed editor-at-large at OnEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, and has been a contributing writer at Mother Jones in San Francisco since 2008. "I will miss working with so many talented writers and photographers, but I felt the time was right," he said. "I have several projects, both books and articles, that I have long set aside to focus on the magazine. I'm excited to be able to concentrate on that writing now and I feel comfortable leaving, knowing that VQR is in good hands with the new staff. I look back on my nine years as editor with pride, but I also hope that the new staff will not feel in any way encumbered by that legacy. VQR is theirs to steward and reimagine now, and I hope they will be able to build on and exceed past successes."
VQR Nominated for National Magazine Awards
"Under Ted Genoways, Virginia Quarterly Review has become one of the most widely admired magazines in the country,” said Sid Holt, chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors. "From 2005 to 2011, VQR received 25 National Magazine Award nominations in categories ranging from fiction to multimedia. During that time, the magazine won six awards, including the most prestigious award general excellence in 2006.
"This year the magazine was again honored by the National Magazine Award judges with three more nominations, including its seventh for general excellence, its ninth for fiction and its first for photography, a category in which it is competing against magazines like National Geographic and Vogue."
Jane Friedman, former publisher and editorial director of Writer's Digest, will join the VQR staff in June to develop online and digital content and a larger social media presence for the publication. She is an assistant professor in the e-media division, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. She is a frequent speaker nationally on new media and publishing.
The VQR staff includes publisher Jon Parrish Peede. From 2003 to 2011, Peede served in several leadership positions at the National Endowment for the Arts, including director of literature grants.
The Virginia Quarterly Review has been published continuously at U.Va. since 1925. It has published 17 Nobel Laureates. VQR has also received Utne Independent Press Awards for General Excellence and International Coverage. Issues are available on newsstands nationwide at select independent and Barnes & Noble bookstores.