Sally Buzbee Steps Down As Executive Editor Of The Washington Post

NEW YORK (AP) — The Washington Post said Sunday that its executive editor, Sally Buzbee, has stepped down after three years at the top of one of journalism’s most storied brands.

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

No reason was given for Buzbee’s departure. She wasn’t quoted in the news release announcing that she was leaving, and did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Post also announced that it was launching a new division in its newsroom dedicated to reaching audiences who want to pay for and consume news in a different way.

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

Buzbee was the first woman to serve as executive editor of The Washington Post. And like Jill Abramson, the first woman to be top editor at The New York Times, her tenure was short: Abramson had her job from 2011 to 2014.

It has been a miserable few years financially for the news industry, including for the Post. It has bled subscribers to the point where new publisher, Will Lewis, told employees last month that the newspaper lost $77 million last year.

“To speak candidly, we are in a hole, and have been for some time,” Lewis said, according to the Post.

Lewis was named late last year to replace Fred Ryan as Post publisher. He has worked at both The Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph in England, the places he turned to to find the new executives.

He’s talked about creating a multi-tier subscription plan for The Post, similar to that in place at Politico. In an email to employees late Sunday, Lewis said the new department will focus on more video storytelling, will embrace artificial intelligence and flexible payment methods. It will begin this fall, he said.

In an earlier meeting, “we highlighted 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 augurs a change to the traditional structure of the Post. 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 features. He has run The Telegraph’s news operations since 2013, the Post said.

Murray will take over as leader of the newly-created department starting Nov. 6, the Post said. 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 journalism 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,” Lewis said.

The Post won three Pulitzer Prizes last month, including one in national reporting for a vivid series on the impact of the AR-15 rifle.

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