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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Laurie Hays Named Editor-in-Chief/CEO of The Fuller Project

December 19, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Laurie Hays, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who spent 30 years leading investigations and enterprise reporting at the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, has been named Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Fuller Project, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to groundbreaking reporting that catalyzes positive change for women. In the newly created role, Hays will oversee both the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and the business functions of the nonprofit. She replaces Fuller co-founder and CEO Dr. Xanthe Scharff, who will continue to support The Fuller Project as a special advisor. 

“We are so pleased to announce that Laurie Hays will lead The Fuller Project, bringing her unique experience and talents to this vital mission,” said Tim Isgitt, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We look forward to working with Laurie and The Fuller Project team in this next chapter, to build upon the tremendous foundation of impactful reporting that has been developed in its first eight years under the leadership of co-founder Xanthe Scharff.” 

Scharff, who announced her departure to staff last month, has led The Fuller Project from a small group of dedicated freelance reporters to a thriving global nonprofit newsroom producing journalism that routinely catalyzes positive change for women and their communities.  During her tenure, Fuller has produced reporting from 67 countries on five continents, earning more than 30 industry awards including a Helen Gurley Brown Genius Award.“The board is deeply grateful for Xanthe’s visionary leadership and service,” said Isgitt.

 “As we step into our next chapter, Laurie’s position as both our top executive and editorial visionary reflects the seriousness with which we take our investigative journalism, which is deepening and driving more impact everyday,” said Scharff of her successor. 

Hays’ professional journalism career began in New Orleans as a politics and education reporter for the States-Item and Times Picayune. She joined the Wall Street Journal in 1986, where she reported from Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1993, served as bureau chief in Atlanta, national news editor starting in 2003, and finally as assistant managing editor for investigations. After 23 years, she left the Journal in 2008 for Bloomberg News to oversee 1,200 beat reporters globally and reshape the newsroom to break more stories and pursue stronger enterprise articles. Under her leadership, Bloomberg won its first and only Pulitzer Prize, along with numerous education and business reporting awards.

She left Bloomberg in 2015 to work in crisis consulting for Brunswick and Edelman, and later founded Laurie Hays & Assoc., a strategic communications advisory firm focused on business and society, primarily working on #MeToo issues and advocating for equality in the workplace for women and people of color. 

Hays serves on the boards of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, the Overseas Press Club, and the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism. She was a founding director of the Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit Marshall Project and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York.

“As a passionate journalist and feminist, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to lead this great organization,” said Hays. “Margaret Fuller was a women’s rights pioneer who believed that women needed to read as much as possible and fully engage with the world to attain equality with men.  We still have a long way to go, and The Fuller Project’s mission is ever more urgent, publishing important, untold stories about women’s struggles and achievements as we work to catalyze change and break down the structural barriers still holding women back.”

Hays assumes her new role in early January. 

The Fuller Project is the global newsroom dedicated to groundbreaking reporting that catalyzes positive change for women. Since 2015, The Fuller Project’s reporting has influenced new legislation, helped end life-threatening practices, and led to large scale releases of public data.

We report exclusive stories centered on women that otherwise would not be told. Our long-standing focus on women, especially those facing racial or other forms of bias, leads to journalism that by challenging conventional thinking inspires action. Our reporting is relied on by policymakers, corporate leaders, influencers, and individuals across the globe, leading to better outcomes for women and their communities.

Contact: Kim Abbott at 202-441-4404.

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