Top editor of Washington Post resigns

NEW YORK – The Washington Post announced Sunday that Sally Buzbee, editor-in-chief, had stepped down after three years at the top of one of journalism’s most storied brands.

She will be replaced in this fall’s presidential election by Matt Murray, former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal. After Murray, Robert Winnett, deputy editor of the Telegraph Media Group, will take the helm as the newsroom restructures its operations.

No reason was given for Buzbee’s departure. She was not quoted in the press release announcing her departure and did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

NO LONGER ON TOP Sally Buzbee, then senior vice president and editor-in-chief of the Associated Press, poses for a photo in New York on December 13, 2018. AP FILE PHOTO

The Post also announced it will launch a new department in its newsroom aimed at reaching audiences who want to pay for and consume news differently.

Buzbee, a former top editor at the Associated Press (AP), was selected as Post editor-in-chief in May 2021. She replaced a renowned predecessor, Martin Baron, after the newspaper exploded in popularity during Donald Trump’s administration.

Buzbee was the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the Post. And like Jill Abramson, the first female top editor of The New York Times, her tenure was short-lived: Abramson held her job from 2011 to 2014.

It’s been a miserable few years financially for the news industry, including the Post. It has dwindled subscribers so much that new publisher Will Lewis told employees last month that the paper had lost $77 million last year.

“To be honest, we’ve been in a hole for a while,” the Post quoted Lewis as saying.

Lewis was appointed late last year to replace Fred Ryan as Post publisher. He has worked at both the Wall Street Journal and the Telegraph in Britain, the places he went to find the new managers.

He has talked about creating a multi-tiered subscription plan for the Post, similar to Politico’s. In an email to employees on Sunday evening, Lewis said the new department would focus on more video stories and embrace artificial intelligence and flexible payment methods. It will begin this fall, he added.

At an earlier meeting, Lewis said, “we emphasized the need to move away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach in the news media industry and focus on creating news for a broader range of readers and customers.”

It portends a change in the Post’s traditional structure. In his memo, Lewis mentioned “three newsrooms.” Winnett will not take on the title of executive editor, but he will be responsible for the “core coverage areas” of politics, investigations, business, technology, sports and feature films. He has led the Telegraph’s news operations since 2013.

Murray will take over leadership of the newly established department from November 6. No one will have the title of executive editor: Murray, Winnett and David Shipley, the editorial page editor who will lead the “opinions newsroom,” will each report directly to Lewis, the Post said.

“By creating three strong journalistic functions – core, service/social and opinions – we are taking a definitive step away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach and moving towards meeting our audiences where they are,” said Lewis.

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