Yale Journalism Initiative founder Steven Brill ’72 LAW ’75 announced Monday that he would step down from his position as chief executive officer of Verified Identity Pass, Inc. in order to pursue personal interests relating to public service and journalism.

Brill, founder of Verified Identity Pass, said in a memo sent to employees yesterday that he would take up the part-time position of vice-chairman of the company. The move, Brill said, comes as the company — which sells the Clear “fast pass” system to help registered travelers circumvent airport security lines — shifts its focus to surviving what Brill termed “this excruciatingly tough economy.”

“I’ve been tinkering with [ideas] related to the business challenges facing quality journalism,” Brill said in his memo.

Brill declined to comment on his future plans Monday evening.

Brill, who first entered the world of professional journalism in 1978, has founded magazines, including The American Lawyer, and a television network, Court TV. He has also written two books, including “After: How America Confronted the September 12th Era.”

Yale Journalism Initiative Coordinator Mark Oppenheimer ’96 GRD ’03 said that Brill has made a significant contribution to the future of journalism through his support for the Yale Journalism Initiative, which Brill and his wife founded in 2006 with a donation of $1 million. He noted Brill’s high level of involvement with the program, citing the journalism seminar Brill teaches in the fall.

In the seminar, students discuss at length the business model on which newspapers operate.

Oppenheimer also highlighted Brill’s “broad vision” for the future of journalism, saying that Brill is “always thinking of new and exciting ways” to improve the industry.

A new CEO of Clear will be appointed to supervise day-to-day operations in Brill’s absence.