Susan Chira to Step Down as The Marshall Project’s Editor-in-Chief

Susan Chira will step down early next year as editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, the award-winning nonprofit criminal justice newsroom that marks its 10th anniversary this fall.

During her tenure, The Marshall Project won numerous journalism accolades, more than doubled its staff and expanded into local communities stripped of resources to investigate criminal justice. The organization substantially diversified staff and leadership, launched its first hit podcasts and multi-episode video series, and deepened its commitment to reach the incarcerated and their families.

“Susan Chira has been a phenomenal editor-in-chief and a wonderful partner,” said Carroll Bogert, president of The Marshall Project. “She took an impressive young nonprofit start-up, and made it a substantial and well-respected player on the media scene.”

“We on the board are extremely proud of The Marshall Project’s accomplishments under Susan’s leadership,” said Liz Simons, board chair. “We are sad to see her go, but excited for the next phase of this newsroom’s development.”

Chira joined The Marshall Project from The New York Times, where she was a reporter and editor for four decades. She was its first woman foreign editor and served as deputy executive editor overseeing daily news. She was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of workplace sexual harassment.

The Marshall Project’s newsroom has doubled in size since Chira joined in 2019. Under her leadership, it won many prestigious awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and two Pulitzer finalist recognitions; the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative reporting; two Sigma awards for data journalism, an Edward R. Murrow award, two National Magazine awards for General Excellence, and multiple prizes for editorial design and audience journalism. The Marshall Project also produced its first two original podcasts and the television show Inside Story, distributed online and behind bars.

“It’s been an immense privilege to have led The Marshall Project’s newsroom,” Chira said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the investigative, explanatory and engagement journalism we’ve produced across the country and in local communities to hold power to account. Our team is driven, innovative, and inspiring. I’m confident in the future of The Marshall Project and will always cheer them on.”

Chira also helped to guide The Marshall Project’s work with hundreds of media partners, expanding the organization’s reach into local communities and setting up news teams in Cleveland, Ohio, and Jackson, Mississippi. She oversaw an expansion of how The Marshall Project tells stories and reaches people through audience journalism, including a stronger newsletter portfolio and growing social media reach.

Chira’s newsroom has produced journalism with consistent and significant impact. The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into weaponization of police dogs led to reform in several states; its exposure of de facto debtors’ prisons, gang infiltration and understaffing in Mississippi prisons led to fines and investigations; its exposé of violence in federal prisons led to the shutdown of a special unit; its investigation into corrections officers’ abuse of prisoners in New York prompted state legislation; and its look into the nationwide practice of government agencies taking money owed to foster children has helped lead to reforms in dozens of states and localities.

With a background in reporting on gender, Chira also drove coverage of the criminalization of pregnancy after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, exposing prosecutions around pregnancy that harm both women and children and pave the way for future restrictive legislation.

During her tenure, Chira elevated engagement journalism as another form of accountability work, deepening The Marshall Project’s commitment to meet the information needs of incarcerated people and those who live in communities that are plagued by violence. Her team oversaw the largest political survey of incarcerated people, created guidance on use of language while reporting on criminal justice, and provided data-driven investigations and explainers on issues communities themselves identified as urgent.