Longtime Observer managing editor Jocelyn Bell has been appointed the new editor and publisher of The United Church Observer. The appointment takes effect Jan. 1 and follows the retirement of David Wilson, the magazine’s editor and publisher since 2006.
Rev. Lauren Hodgson, chair of The Observer’s board of directors, announced the appointment in October. “Jocelyn brings proven professional skills and an intimate understanding of the United Church and its values to the job,” says Hodgson. “She is ideally positioned to lead The Observer through the next chapter of its long history.”
Bell joined The Observer in 2006. As managing editor, she has been responsible for the day-to-day editorial operation of the magazine and has played a key role in advancing The Observer’s mandate to be the voice of faith, justice and ethical living in Canada today.
“Jocelyn has also been instrumental in helping to move The Observer forward in challenging times for print magazines in general and church-related publications in particular,” says Wilson. “She has brought high professional standards to her work as managing editor, and those high standards will continue to benefit the magazine as she shifts into this new role and the magazine continues to evolve.”
Bell holds a bachelor of arts degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and a bachelor of journalism degree from Toronto’s Ryerson University, and has experience in the newsrooms of several major daily newspapers, including the Toronto Star and the Hamilton Spectator. Before joining The Observer, Bell was editor of Childview magazine.
Her United Church roots run deep. Bell grew up in a household where both parents were United Church ministers, and she ranks witnessing the United Church’s 1986 Apology to First Nations at age 11 as one of her key formative experiences.
“I’m tremendously proud of the magazine we produce,” Bell says. “I’m both humbled by The Observer’s long legacy and grateful that the board has entrusted me with the task of leading the publication toward an exciting future.”
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