Paul Van Slambrouck, currently The Christian Science Monitor's San Francisco bureau chief, has been chosen to succeed David T. Cook as editor of the newspaper on July 15.
The change was announced Tuesday at a newsroom staff meeting by John L. Selover, manager of The Christian Science Publishing Society and vice chairman of The Christian Science Board of Directors. The board acts as publisher of the Monitor.
Mr. Van Slambrouck joined the paper in 1976 as a local news reporter. He served the Monitor as a business reporter, Houston bureau chief, and Johannesburg bureau chief. Then, from 1985 to 1989, Van Slambrouck was international news editor. During that period, the Monitor won four Overseas Press Club awards.
He left the Monitor in 1989 to join the San Jose Mercury News, where he and the rest of the staff received a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At the Mercury News, Van Slambrouck served as national/foreign editor and rose to become deputy managing editor, responsible for much of the daily operation of the paper.
In 1997, he left the Mercury News to rejoin the Monitor. Upon his departure, the Merc's editor, Jerry Ceppos, wrote to the staff: "No journalist has done more to set standards and to bring a clear vision to the Mercury News.... Every editor and writer at the Mercury News has come to trust Paul's judgment and his counsel."
Mr. Cook has been the Monitor's editor since August 1994. During his tenure, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize and two Overseas Press Club awards, launched csmonitor.com, which now draws more than 600,000 visitors a month, and went through a major redesign that included starting five new weekly sections.
Cook will move to Washington as senior editor and Washington bureau chief. John Dillin, the current bureau chief, will retire July 31 after 37 years of distinguished service to the paper, including two tours as managing editor and postings in Saigon, Atlanta, and New York.
In January 2002, Cook will succeed Godfrey Sperling Jr. as host of the Monitor's Washington policy breakfasts, which Mr. Sperling has run for 35 years. Sperling has presided over 3,200 breakfasts with presidents, pollsters, and public servants, many of which made headlines. He will continue to write a column for the paper's op-ed page.
"The directors are delighted to have Paul Van Slambrouck's exceptional journalistic and managerial talents to turn to. We feel that he can guide the Monitor to even greater levels of excellence to meet the demands for clear and balanced news in the 21st century," Mr. Selover said. "Dave Cook's leadership has given the Monitor great stature and forward momentum. He will make a strong contribution to the Monitor's journalistic presence in Washington."
At a newsroom meeting Tuesday, Mr. Cook characterized his tenure as editor as "a joy, a privilege, and an honor." "I cherished this opportunity to work closely with the remarkably talented, unselfish, and courageous team of journalists that produces this newspaper. I look forward to returning to the Washington bureau and to working with the first-rate Monitor team that covers the nation's capital."
"One of my happiest days as editor came when Paul Van Slambrouck accepted my invitation to return to the Monitor's staff," Cook said. "The newspaper we all love will be in very good hands."
In his first comments to the staff, Van Slambrouck said he hopes the transition will be "one of continuity and further progress ... toward increasing the Monitor's influence and recognition in the world. I'm grateful for the opportunity and eager to build on Dave's accomplishments."
Mr. Selover said the midsummer transition allows Van Slambrouck time to relocate to Boston while Cook oversees the Monitor's July 12 move into a renovated newsroom in the Christian Science Publishing Society. The paper has operated from temporary space since July 1997 while its historic quarters at One Norway Street were rebuilt. Outdated infrastructure systems were replaced, and the latest in newsgathering technology installed.
A Californian, Van Slambrouck graduated with an anthropology degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and later studied photography at the Glen Fishback School of Photography. In 1985, he won the Project Censored award for his series on the black homelands in South Africa, and in 1995 Knight-Ridder newspapers honored him with a fellowship at Duke University. He is married to Diana Arsenian, and they have three college-age children.
Before he became the editor of the Monitor, Cook was editor of Monitor Broadcasting, which produced daily news programs heard on more than 200 public radio stations. Earlier, Cook served as managing editor of the Monitor's nightly television news program, "World Monitor."
Cook began his Monitor career in 1969 and specialized in business reporting. After winning a fellowship in economic reporting at Columbia University in 1977, Cook worked for several years at McGraw-Hill, where he was a Detroit-based correspondent for Business Week.
He and his wife, Linda, have three teenage sons.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor