Temple University's School of Media and Communication has received a $2 million grant to create an endowed chair in "journalism innovation" named after James B. Steele, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter formerly with the Inquirer.

The university has hired Aron Pilhofer, executive editor of digital for the Guardian (the English publication with a digital edition in the United States) and a former editor of digital strategy for the New York Times, to fill the post. Pilhofer, regarded as a leader in digital strategies, will start in October.

"The chance to inspire and educate a new generation of journalists was too good to pass up, and the fact that this position is associated with one of my heroes, Jim Steele, is the icing on the cake," Pilhofer said in a statement.

The chair is being funded in part by the Wyncote Foundation.

"This chair, with Aron Pilhofer as its first appointment, signals that the future of journalism and its critical role in democracy will have a dynamic platform in Philadelphia at Temple University," David Haas, one of the Wyncote Foundation's directors, said in a statement.

Wyncote asked that the chair be named for Steele, who also has worked for Time and Vanity Fair magazines. Steele, a pioneer in the use of databases in reporting, won two Pulitzer Prizes with his reporting partner, Donald L. Barlett, while with the Inquirer.

Pilhofer currently is responsible for visual and data journalism at the Guardian. He has held that position since June 2014. Before that, he worked in several roles at the Times, beginning in 2005. He previously was database editor at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington and was on the national training staff of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

At Temple, he will teach and work with local media companies on innovations to improve their public-interest journalism, said David Boardman, dean of the school.

"This is a profoundly important hire for our university and for the Philadelphia region," Boardman said.

Boardman is a board member of the Institute for Journalism in New Media, to which the Inquirer and Daily News were donated by philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest.

215-854-4693 @ssnyderinq