Kari Howard, a longtime editor known for her generous spirit and exemplary storytelling skills died on Monday, Jan, 10, at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer. From 2016 to 2018, she served as editor of Nieman Storyboard, the Nieman Foundation’s online publication that showcases exceptional narrative journalism.
Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski said: “Kari was warm and witty and beloved as a colleague. She made fantastic playlists that knitted her love of music and writing. Everyone I knew who had ever been edited by Kari thought she was magic.”
When she joined Storyboard, Howard shared her vision for the publication, which guided her work over time: “I like to imagine Storyboard as a community center with a bit of a coffeehouse vibe, where people who love literary journalism can hang out and, most importantly, have a great conversation. I plan on being a bit chatty, and hope readers will want to chat back.”
Howard came to Storyboard from the Los Angeles Times, where she had worked as assistant foreign editor before becoming editor of Column One, the paper’s popular narrative journalism feature that was later renamed Great Reads. She also wrote the weekly Great Reads newsletter, which reached thousands of subscribers.
In 2015, Howard edited reporter Diana Marcum’s LA Times series on the California drought, which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. She also edited correspondent Sergei Loiko’s reports from Ukraine, which won the Overseas Press Club’s award for best newspaper or wire service interpretation of international affairs, as well as reporter Daniel Miller’s story on L.A.’s first black private detective, which was the Longreads editor’s pick for best crime reporting of the year.
After working for Storyboard, Howard joined the global enterprise team at Reuters as storytelling editor and was based in London. She had recently moved back to her farmhouse in Maine, which she had been renovating for more than a decade.
Howard earned an M.S. in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. in literature from the University of North Carolina – Asheville.
Along with her sister, Alison Howard, she is survived by her mother, Diane, of Phoenix.