'Washington Post' CEO Says He will Uphold Edit-Business Separation

Washington Post CEO Will Lewis has vowed to maintain the church-state line between the business side and editorial, despite accusations that he had breached it. 

“I will never cross the line,” he told the staff last week, according to a story in the Post itself. “These are the editors. I am the publisher. There’s a very clear line there, which will be maintained at all times.”

However, The New York Times reported that Lewis questioned Editor Sally Buzbee’s judgment when she insisted an article would run on the hacking scandal Lewis allegedly helped cover up when working for Murdoch. Last weekend, it was announced that Buzbee had resigned. 

The discussion about the story was confirmed by the Post with two people familiar with the meeting, the Post writes. But Lewis said he didn’t recall using the phrase “serious lapse in judgment.”  



The Post news report observes that it is a “third rail in journalism” for business executives to attempt to influence coverage at publications.  

“The firewall exists to protect the credibility of the news coverage,” said Kathleen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to the Post.

“It’s there so people can’t peddle influence that ultimately keeps important information from readers or viewers.” 

The Post article reports that Lewis joined Murdoch after the hacking scandal broke, and that he says he only held a junior role in it. 

Meanwhile, the Post newsroom was shaken up by Buzbee’s exit and the hiring of two former colleagues of Lewis.  

Matt Murray will serve as acting executive editor through the 2024 election, at which point Robert Winnett will take over in a new position as editor and Murray will run a new unit called the third newsroom.   

Murphy said that Post reporters should cover the matter, according to the Post.



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