Washington Post Executive Editor Abruptly Steps Down Amid Newsroom Shake-Up

Washington Post Executive Editor Abruptly Steps Down Amid Newsroom Shake-Up
Executive Editor of the Washington Post Sally Buzbee speaks during the Washington Post Global Women's Summit at the newspaper's headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Washington Post’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, has stepped down from her position as the company undergoes major restructuring operations.

The newspaper’s publisher and chief executive, William Lewis, confirmed late on June 2 that Ms. Buzbee will be replaced by Matt Murray, the former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, until the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

“Sally is an incredible leader and a supremely talented media executive who will be sorely missed,” Mr. Lewis said in a statement. “I wish her all the best going forward.”

No specific reason was given for Ms. Buzbee’s sudden departure.

Robert Winnett, who has been deputy editor of The Telegraph Media Group since 2007, will take over Mr. Murray’s role after the Nov. 5 presidential election, Mr. Lewis added. Meanwhile, Mr. Winnett will oversee the publication’s “core coverage areas,” including politics, investigations, business, technology, sports, and features.

Addressing the newsroom shake-up, Mr. Murray said he was “deeply honored” to join the newspaper and thanked Ms. Buzbee for “her great leadership.”

Ms. Buzbee, the first woman to serve as executive editor of the nearly 150-year-old newspaper, previously worked as a top editor for the Associated Press.

Last year, Mr. Lewis highly praised his then-executive editor, saying he was “a huge fan” of Ms. Buzbee and was “100 percent” committed to her remaining in the job. The two had gotten to know each other when they worked for the Associated Press.

Ms. Buzbee, hired by The Washington Post in May 2021 by then-chief executive Fred Ryan, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Major Restructuring Operations

Her abrupt departure comes after a miserable few years financially for the news industry, including The Washington Post, which has bled subscribers to the point where Mr. Lewis told employees in May that the company lost $77 million in 2023 and saw a 50 percent decline in viewership since the highs of 2020.

“To speak candidly, we are in a hole, and have been for some time,” Mr. Lewis told staff during a presentation on May 22, according to the publication’s own reporting.

In addition to announcing Ms. Buzzbee’s departure, Mr. Lewis revealed plans in an email to employees on June 2 to launch “a new division of the newsroom” aimed at improving service and social media for audiences who want “to consume and pay for news differently from traditional offerings.”

In the email, Mr. Lewis said the new department will focus on more video storytelling and embrace artificial intelligence. The company’s major restructuring operation will begin this fall, he added.

In his memo, he mentioned “three newsrooms,” noting Mr. Murray will take over as leader of the newly created department starting on Nov. 6—a day after the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

“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,” Mr. Lewis said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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