Joel Simon became the executive director for the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2006. Prior to joining CPJ as a program coordinator in 1997, Simon worked as a journalist in California and Latin America.
He began his career as a writer and photographer based in Central America, focusing on Guatemala's civil war. Simon moved to Mexico City in 1989 where he covered immigration, environmental issues, and the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
From 1991 to 1994, Simon worked from San Francisco as a contributing editor to SFWeekly. He returned to Mexico in 1994 to report on the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas as a freelance correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. Simon's book on Mexico's environmental crisis, Endangered Mexico: An Environment on the Edge, was published by Sierra Club Books in 1997.
Simon has participated in CPJ missions to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, Tajikistan, Mexico, Colombia, the Gambia, Russia, and the Philippines. He has written widely on press issues, including press freedom and international law, for the Columbia Journalism Review, Slate, Newsday, and the New York Review of Books.