Matthew Krumholtz *15 didn’t envision himself in a career outside of the academy. While pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Princeton, Krumholtz researched new forms of dialogue invented in the 20th century — dialogue used by writers and filmmakers to ignite social movements. His work was multidisciplinary, combining psychoanalysis, sociology, linguistics, and critical theory. His three primary dissertation advisers were also interdisciplinary, and he said the English department at Princeton was an exciting place because the faculty took this approach.
Krumholtz’s first taste of a nonacademic career came during an internship during his last semester at Princeton. While finishing his dissertation and teaching his final course, Krumholtz worked at a mission-driven Wall Street firm — a startup connecting new forms of capital with nonprofits. Since then, Krumholtz has carried his humanities-driven, multidisciplinary approach into his work as the head of philanthropic and strategic partnerships at HuffPost. He now works to build collaborations with grant-making foundations to bring new resources to the newsroom. Through these connections, he develops ambitious, long-term editorial projects on topics related to social justice, economic justice, and environmental justice.
“At first I had to find my way a little bit,” Krumholtz said. “But now that I’ve been working in the private sector since getting the Ph.D., it’s pretty clear to me that I think that people in the academic humanities have a responsibility to think broadly about the social impacts of the academic humanities.”
Last October, Krumholtz helped launch “This New World,” a two-year reporting project in collaboration with MIT, which looks at local communities around the world working to build a new economy that works for more people and for the planet. Then at the end of June, HuffPost partnered with the Center for Investigative Reporting to put on a play adapted from the newsroom’s 2017 reporting on Islamophobia.
Krumholtz said it’s an important time for both journalists and academics — journalists, especially at HuffPost, are committed to sharing the voices of people who have been left out of traditional power structures. Krumholtz’s work connects funders across different focus areas with storytellers to share these important stories. This also means making stories accessible to everyone, which is why HuffPost does not have a pay wall requiring readers to pay for a subscription.
Meanwhile, he said, academics are beginning to realize that there are a number of applications for graduate and Ph.D. students that don’t always culminate in a career in the academy.
Krumholtz has worked with a grant committee funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to help Princeton and the Graduate School look at new sustainable models for humanities graduate education.
“I’ve really become an evangelist for the resilience of the humanities and humanities training especially in fields outside of the academy,” Krumholtz said. The interdisciplinary approach from his thesis has carried on, he said, “even outside of traditional work in the academic humanities.”