New board chief shares bold ambition for ICIJ

“I believe ICIJ can become the pre-eminent investigative journalism organization in the world,” ICIJ Chairperson Rhona Murphy said.

Former Newsweek and Daily Beast chief Rhona Murphy has been appointed as the new chairperson of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Ms. Murphy first joined the ICIJ board in 2017. She served as Treasurer before taking on her new position this week, saying she expected to bring decades of global, strategic expertise to the role.

“I believe ICIJ can become the pre-eminent investigative journalism organization in the world,” she said. “It is already having a major impact on policy, but its visibility will only increase still further.

“This organization is going to continue to shape the debate on many major issues.”

Ms. Murphy has vast commercial media experience at the highest levels in the United States and in Asia. She headed up The Daily Beast and Newsweek and held senior executive positions at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal in New York and Singapore.

Welcoming Ms. Murphy, ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said:

“I very much welcome Rhona’s elevation to the chair. Her long experience as a media executive at the highest international levels will continue to be a great resource for ICIJ.

“I also want to thank our outgoing chair, Sheila Coronel, who has had to step down from the board because of the increased work commitments brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

“It was a great honor to have her serve as chair during our first three years as an independent organization.”

Since returning to her native Dublin in 2015, Ms. Murphy has set up a media and management consultancy and is also a C-suite advisor. In 2016, she was appointed a non-executive director of The Irish Times DAC and in 2019, she became a Chartered Director (C.Dir., Institute of Directors, Ireland).

Ms. Murphy said she is excited to build on the organization’s track record and its international, collaborative ethos.

“I have worked with colleagues from around the world during my career and it is something I have always enjoyed very much. It was certainly part of the attraction of ICIJ.

“Last week, for instance, we had a virtual board meeting and there were people on the call from Lagos, London, Sydney, Mexico City, New York and Washington, D.C. – it’s a real global mix of media professionals and that is very exciting.”

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The digital revolution that continues to bring unprecedented challenges in all media sectors also provides unparalleled opportunities to break stories with global relevance.

“In a very short time, ICIJ has become one of the major investigative journalism units in the world and that is a remarkable achievement.

“The stories appear in other, more established news brands and that is a symbiotic relationship. These outlets realize they wouldn’t have the resources to cover these stories themselves, so everyone wins – particularly the public.”

Although ICIJ has built its reputation on developing financial stories from huge data leaks, Ms. Murphy believes it can continue to break diverse stories of global importance.

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