'Washington Post' Fracas: Turmoil Continues Over Buzbee's Exit

The fallout from Sally Buzbee’s sudden departure as The Washington Post’s executive editor last weekend has not yet settled, and may not for some time. 

The leadership at the Post now consists of CEO Will Lewis and acting executive editor Matt Murray. Murray will serve through the 2024 election, at which point Robert Winnett will take over in the new position of editor and Murray will run a new unit called the third newsroom.  

Murray is the former editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal and Winnett is the deputy editor of the Telegraph Media Group, facts that prompt some observers to say Lewis is surrounding himself with loyalists, or at least with former colleagues, although there is nothing so unusual about either.

It is not totally clear why Buzbee stepped down. On the one hand, she was concerned about shrinkage of her role at the Post, reports say. But she also clashed with Lewis over planned coverage of a ruling in a UK phone-hacking case in which Lewis is mentioned but is not a defendant, according to The New York Times.



Lewis questioned Buzbee’s judgment when she insisted an article would run, the Times continues.   

Moreover, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik claims he was offered an exclusive interview with Lewis over the future of the Post last December in return for not covering the allegations in the legal action (a sequence of events not confirmed by the Post).

Some of this might be seen as a test of journalistic integrity, or simply as good media gossip. But it is amplified by news of a $77 million loss at the Post in the past year. 

To fight that, Lewis is restructuring the newsroom to focus more on readers who disdain traditional news. And a Post story reports that the two new editors have “decades of experience overseeing ambitious, aggressive journalism.”

Hopefully, the Post will make the most of it.

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