Pulitzer Winners At 'The Washington Post' Call on Will Lewis To Step Down

The Will Lewis furor is just not stopping at The Washington Post. Two of the paper’s Pulitzer winners have called on Lewis, who was named as CEO and publisher earlier this year, to resign.  

Last week, The New York Times alleged that Lewis had assigned an article based on stolen phone records when working as business editor of the (UK) Sunday Times in 2004.  

And Robert Winnett, the incoming editor of the Post, wrote an article in 2002 based on materials deceptively obtained by a private investigator, the Times writes.   

These incidents have raised questions about Lewis’s journalistic integrity.  

“I don’t know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and supposed new editor can stand,” David Maraniss, an associate editor and Pulitizer, wrote on Facebook, according to CNN. “There might be a few, but very very few.”



His Pulitizer-winning colleague Scott Higham echoed that in a comment on Maraniss's post, “Will Lewis needs to step down for the good of The Post and the public. He has lost the newsroom and will never win it back.”

Maraniss also said that Post owner Jeff Bezos, who hired Lewis, is “not of and for the Post or he would understand.”

Another ethical issue raised by the Times article is that Lewis paid 100,000 pounds to a source, a practice generally prohibited at U.S. newspapers.

For now, though, Bezos appears to be standing by Lewis. He sent a memo to newsroom leaders, saying, “You have my full commitment on maintaining the quality, ethics, and standards we all believe in,” Bezos wrote.

This reportedly did little to bolster newsroom morale. Reporters are also concerned that the hires of Lewis, Winnett and executive editor Matt Murray may signal a turn to a Murdoch-News Corp. ethos. 

For his part, Lewis has assured the Post newsroom that as publisher, he will not try interfere with editorial. “I will never cross the line,” he said. “These are the editors. I am the publisher. There’s a very clear line there, which will be maintained at all times.” 

It remains to be seen if Lewis can ride this out. But there is a certain urgency, given the fact that the Post lost $77 million last year (less than the once-projected $100 million, the Post reports). It has also lost half of its audience, mirroring an industry-wide decline.



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