Jane Eisner, who chairs the Student Press Law Center’s Board of Directors, is a pioneer in journalism. In July 2019, she joined the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism as Director of Academic Affairs, overseeing the Masters of Arts program.
An accomplished journalist, educator, non-profit leader and public speaker, Eisner was editor-in-chief of The Forward 2008 to 2019, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization.
Eisner held executive editorial and news positions at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, including stints as editorial page editor, syndicated columnist, City Hall bureau chief and foreign correspondent. In 2006, she joined the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where she served as vice president for national programs and initiatives, with responsibility for all adult programming, the Liberty Medal, and the Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution.
Eisner’s editorials have also have won national and regional awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2012 and 2010, along with the 2012 and 2011 awards for opinion writing from the Deadline Club, SPJ’s New York chapter. In 2014, she won the Front Page Award for editorial writing from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, and received the David Twersky Award in 2015.
In 2009, she was one of 20 fellows in the Punch Sulzberger Executive News Media Leadership Program at the Columbia School of Journalism.
Eisner also has deep roots in academe, and is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Program on Research and Religion on Urban Civil Society and a member of the Common Ground for the Common Good project. She served as the first Koeppel Fellow in Journalism at Wesleyan University, where she taught journalism and non-fiction writing.
From 2002 through 2006, Eisner was a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, as well as an adjunct professor in the school’s political science department. In 2006, she was one of three women chosen to be the first fellows of the new Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College.
Her book, “Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in our Democracy,” was published by Beacon Press in 2004.
She received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and graduated from Wesleyan University cum laude in 1977, where she was the first female editor of the college newspaper and later was a member of the board of trustees.