Karen Pennar, a former senior writer for BusinessWeek magazine, has been named editor of Voices of NY, a news site that publishes the best stories from the city’s community and ethnic press.
Pennar, who has been working part-time for Voices for more than a year and was most recently its interim editor, succeeds Maite Junco, who left last fall to join Mayor DeBlasio’s administration.
Earlier this month, Pennar curated an article from Korea Times about a McDonald’s in Flushing, Queens that was evicting elderly Korean patrons who were congregating at the restaurant for hours a day for the price of some coffee. The story was translated by the Voices staff and picked up by The New York Times, The Daily News, and several television and radio stations before getting international play.
“We’re thrilled to have Karen lead the site at such a critical moment,” said Garry Pierre-Pierre, executive director of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media. “She brings a steady hand and strong leadership as we move toward creating more original content.”
Pennar, who has also worked in the health care field and been a playwright, was project director for Many Voices, One City. The Guide to the Community and Ethnic Media of Metropolitan New York, a directory published in 2013 by the Center for Community and Ethnic Media. She has freelanced for Voices of NY and The New York Times.
Her first reporting job was at the Journal of Commerce, where she wrote about foreign currencies. She worked for nearly two decades at BusinessWeek, covering a wide range of domestic and international topics, including globalization, Federal Reserve policy, international trade, human capital, and the privatization of Russian enterprises. She was the lead writer on numerous BusinessWeek cover stories and served as assistant managing editor for its 1999 special issue, 100 Years of Innovation.
Pennar grew up in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan in a multicultural household: Her mother was Egyptian and her father was Estonian. She received a B.A. in economics from Barnard College and a Masters in Public Health from Yale University. She speaks conversational French and Russian.