Sally Buzbee, first woman to lead The Washington Post, steps down

Buzbee’s departure comes after publisher told employees the paper lost $77m last year.

The Washington Post is struggling with declining revenues [Gerald Herbert/AP]

The top editor at The Washington Post, Sally Buzbee, has stepped down after three years at the helm of one of the most storied publications in the United States.

Buzbee will be replaced by Matt Murray, a former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, until the conclusion of the 2024 US presidential election in November, the newspaper said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

Robert Winnett, deputy editor of the United Kingdom-based Telegraph Media Group, will take over as executive editor after the election, the newspaper said.

The Post also announced that it would launch “a new division of the newsroom” focused on service and social media journalism that will cater to audiences who want to consume and pay for news in a different way than the traditional model.

No reason was given for Buzbee’s departure and the Post’s announcement did not include any statement from her.

CEO and Publisher William Lewis, who joined the Post in January, described Buzbee as an “incredible leader and a supremely talented media executive who will be sorely missed”.

“I wish her all the best going forward,” Lewis said.

Murray said he was “deeply honored” to take on the role and thanked Buzbee for her leadership.

“I am excited by Will and Jeff’s vision for The Post’s next era of growth and reinvention and can’t wait to get started,” he said, referring to the Post’s owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Sally Buzbee joined the Washington Post in 2021 [Chuck Zoeller/AP]

The shake-up comes as the Post, like other media companies, has been struggling with declining revenues.

Last month, Lewis told a company town hall meeting that the newspaper was bleeding subscribers and had lost $77m last year.

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

As part of efforts to turn around the newspaper’s finances, Lewis has proposed the creation of a membership program and subscription tiers called Post Pro and Post Plus.

Buzbee, the first female executive editor in the Post’s 144-year history, took over from Marty Baron in 2021 after more than three decades at The Associated Press.

Under Buzbee’s leadership, the Post won six Pulitzer Prizes, including three last month.

Source: Al Jazeera