Lauren Martin has been appointed as editor of longform journalism site The Global Mail. An email sent by publisher Jane Nicholls to staff this week revealed Martin would be “retroactively” elevated following a dry run after Monica Attard’s controversial exit in May.

When Attard departed after just 14 weeks in the hotseat, the site released a statement saying Nicholls would serve as managing editor until a replacement was found. However, Crikey understands Martin has effectively served as managing editor ever since, despite her LinkedIn profile listing her current position as “copy editor”.

Martin, an American, previously worked as managing editor of tony New England broadsheet The Vineyard Gazette, following an earlier stint redesigning the Agenda and Metro sections at the Sydney Morning Herald under John Alexander. She also served as the SMH‘s film reviewer.

Martin is married to Global Mail business writer Mike Seccombe and she and “Secco” moved to the States in 2006 after a stint in Canberra. The newsroom is also home to another couple — Nicholls is married to veteran politics scribe Bernie Lagan.

The new appointee holds an honours degree from the journalism school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and boasts experience on multiple US mastheads — her “American way” of editing apparently appealed to Nicholls, who spent four years toiling at People magazine in New York.

Attard jumped ship from the Graeme Wood-funded venture on May 8 when a management group led by Nicholls became tetchy over the site’s direction.

Read Nicholls’ email to staff:

As I told those at the Sydney story meeting this morning, I’m delighted to confirm Lauren in the role of Editor of TGM, effective immediately (indeed, retroactively…).

As you know, Lauren joined us as acting editor with a day’s notice and in circumstances which were trying for us all. But her sunny, even nature (the velvet cloak over her braininess) quickly got us back in the groove of the tasks at hand. Lauren brings intelligence, compassion and thoughtfulness to our team, as well as a broad resumé. Her experience in editing “the American way” (my words) — questioning, challenging, and almost always asking for more — is something I value enormously. Along with the intensive reporting, extra time and fact-checking we apply to our stories, this rigorous editing will continue to be key to setting us apart in Australian media.

A brief history of our new editor:

She has an honours degree from the journalism school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with a second major in political science (international relations). During her uni years, she also spent some time at the University of Copenhagen and was an intern at CNN Washington. She had an up-close view of the world of high finance and the political fight to deal with it in the late 1980s, when she was Washington Editor for Institutional Investor’s specialist newsletters Corporate Financing Week and Wall Street Letter.

Ask her for the high-seas story of how she ended up in Australia, where she was thrown into a very different world: women’s magazines (New Woman, where she was features editor).

From there, she was hired by John Alexander to remake The Sydney Morning Herald daily features page, Agenda (the first section to publish its email address in the printed paper). Lauren also headed up the redesign and launch of the first Herald section to come off colour presses, Metro, leading a cabal of cub reviewers including one (Sebastian Smee) who went on on to win a Pulitzer. As Fox Studios was opening and the Gonski Review of the film industry was beginning, Lauren took up the role as film writer for the Herald, combining, as she says, “my interests in finance, politics, and personalities”. From there she moved to Canberra, covering various rounds before becoming a mother (of two), and then focusing on national arts and culture stories.

At the beginning of 2006, she and Secco left the Herald to follow a lifelong dream of Lauren’s to work on a famous New England uber-broadsheet newspaper, The Vineyard Gazette. They stayed for six years. For the last three years, Lauren was managing editor, leading the Gazette to win New England Newspaper of the Year in 2010. She oversaw the paper’s news coverage and shaped its digital strategy, taking the lead in developing and managing the social media activity and moving the newsroom from print-only to having a substantial online presence. Under Lauren’s editorship, the paper also won several individual awards, including for best arts story, best arts section and best headline writing. She also somehow found time to be a contributing writer for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and was the daily newswriter for MVYradio and Oh, and she says she got in long walks by the beach. (She asked me not to add that she likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain … but I’m not one to be bossed around.)

Please join me in congratulating Lauren and welcoming her, officially, to the TGM staff.