For the first time in the history of the 143-year-old news organization, a woman has been named executive editor of The Washington Post. Veteran journalist Sally Buzbee, formerly the executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press (AP), will begin running the Post’s nearly 1,000-person newsroom next month.
A native of Olathe, Kansas, Buzbee, 55, became a reporter in Topeka for the AP in 1988. After becoming a correspondent for the news agency in San Diego and then relocating to the Washington bureau in 1995, she was eventually promoted to assistant chief of bureau, responsible for overseeing foreign affairs and national security coverage. Nearly a decade later, she took on the role of AP’s Middle East editor. By 2010, Buzbee was named chief of the AP’s Washington bureau, overseeing coverage of the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections before being named executive editor.
“The Post has such a rich journalistic legacy, and such a terrific staff,” Buzbee said in a Washington Post interview. “It’s exciting to join this organization at a time of growth and innovation.”
She is replacing 66-year-old Marty Baron, who announced his retirement from the Post in January after taking on the position in 2013.
In a memo announcing the decision to the newspaper’s staff on Tuesday, publisher Fred Ryan stated that the organization sought a candidate “steeped in the courageous journalism that is The Post’s hallmark, and who can extend our reach to news audiences in the U.S. and abroad. We sought a bold leader who can manage our dynamic newsroom and bureaus across the globe … We looked carefully for someone who shares our values of diversity and inclusion, and who is committed to prioritizing them in our news coverage as well as our hiring and promotion.”
Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who owns the paper, was in complete agreement with the choice, Ryan said.
The Associated Press has not named Buzbee’s successor there. On Tuesday, it announced that it would begin its search for a new executive editor.
“This is bittersweet news for the AP,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “Sally has been an exceptional leader, guiding AP’s journalists and news report(ing) through some of the most pivotal news events of our time. We are sorry to lose Sally but very happy for her as she takes this next step in her career. We look forward to watching Sally succeed at the Post.”
Several women have held the second-ranking position of managing editor at The Washington Post, but Buzbee is the first to take leadership since the newspaper was founded in 1877.