When Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory called Gregory Lee in the summer of 2020, McGrory was surprised to hear that Lee would entertain a conversation about returning to the Globe. At the time, Lee was the senior managing editor of The Athletic DC.
In November, Lee became the Globe’s senior assistant managing editor, talent and community. His experience in newsrooms and journalism organizations across the United States prepared him for this larger role, where he hopes to foster diversity in the Globe’s newsroom and the greater Boston community.
“It's a brand new job … I've been an unofficial recruiter for (not just) the company I work for now, but other newsrooms around the country,” Lee, 47, said. “But it was not something I focused on every day because I still had a day job. So this is a job I can focus on full-time because I've been known to be a person who connects talented people to newsrooms around the country.”
Lee’s new role involves finding and retaining talent at the Globe and leading journalism projects that impact Boston communities. His return to the Globe marks a new path in Lee’s career, a challenge Lee has worked toward since the start of his career.
The Louisiana native began his career at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where he started off as an agate clerk while studying at Xavier University of Louisiana. Lee finished his time at the Picayune as a slot editor. He went on to serve as the Washington Post’s senior assistant sports editor, became the senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe for eight years and then led his own sports department at the Sun Sentinel in South Florida. He later spent three years as editorial director at NBA.com.
Lee, who describes himself as a hyper person, likes to stay busy. While taking on these roles, Lee found time to become a board member and internship program coordinator for the Sports Journalism Institute. He was also the youngest president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 2011-13.
“I think those leadership skills have served him well in journalism,” said Leon H. Carter, editorial director for talent and development at The Athletic. “Now back at the Boston Globe, on the masthead and helping out in a real way ... it's no surprise to me what he has accomplished. I expect that from him, and expect even more.”
Although Lee’s new role includes finding bright journalists for the Globe, his greatest goal is to encourage diversity among the Globe’s coverage and readers. Lee said the Globe’s subscriber base is not very diverse, and he hopes to suggest new subscribers in other Boston communities. Right now, his focus is bringing the Globe’s journalism to diverse communities as well as creating community in expanded coverage areas of technology and climate.
“I told our leadership that this is going to take an investment,” Lee said. “You can't just turn on a light switch and do a couple of stories and expect them to subscribe. You're going to have to take this as a long view, so that we can gain and earn the trust of these potential subscribers.”
As Lee embarks on his new role, he is excited for the new responsibilities that awaits.
“Being on the masthead of a newspaper was something that was a goal, (but) I never really plotted to do it,” Lee said. “It happened at the right time (and) place for me, and I've been fortunate that my career has been able to shake out that way.”