Priscilla Painton '80

Priscilla Painton '80

Priscilla Painton—editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster and former executive editor of Time magazine—didn’t always want to be a journalist. 

She actually was thinking about becoming a historian while studying at Mount Holyoke. But the journalistic genes of her grandfathers and a newspaper called the Berkshire Eagle in Lenox, Massachusetts, set her on a new career path.Painton’s varied interests led to diverse writing opportunities that included covering educational reform at the Washington Post, night reporting at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and following the trail of Jesse Jackson during his 1989 political campaign.

As a reporter for Time, Painton wrote cover stories about Orlando, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. During the early 1990s, Painton began to work her way up the ladder, first becoming the magazine’s business editor, the nation section editor, and then the executive editor. 

As one of the only women editors at the magazine, Painton made magazine history in 2006, when she accepted the position of deputy managing editor at Time. She stunned the publishing world when she quit her position at Time, after working there for 20 years, to become the executive editor of nonfiction for Simon & Schuster in 2008.

Since joining Simon & Schuster, besides acquiring and editing books such as the bestselling biographies of Michelle Obama and Edward Kennedy, Painton also oversees a team of nine editors. Simon & Schuster has become the leader in ebook publishing, and continues to publish in hardcopy and paperback.

Class Year: 

Mount Holyoke College

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