Washington Post abruptly replaces executive editor Sally Buzbee in shakeup

The Washington Post announced on Sunday that it had parted ways with its top editor, Sally Buzbee, in a seismic shakeup executed by new publisher and chief executive William Lewis just months before the high-stakes 2024 presidential election.

“Sally is an incredible leader and a supremely talented media executive who will be sorely missed,” Lewis said in a statement. “I wish her all the best going forward.”

While Lewis praised Buzbee publicly on Sunday, she oversaw a particularly tumultuous period at the venerable newspaper. During her three-year tenure, The Post saw much of its audience dissipate.

While The Post celebrated several journalism triumphs under Buzbee, winning numerous awards, her tenure was also stained by severe infighting in 2022 that spurred national headlines and embarrassed the newspaper.

The Post said that Matt Murray, former editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal, will immediately replace Buzbee as executive editor. Murray will serve in that position through the 2024 presidential election.

After the November election, Robert Winnett, deputy editor of The Telegraph Media Group, will take on a new role as editor of The Post, overseeing its core news offering. Murray will then transition to overseeing the formation of a new newsroom at The Post, one which focuses on service and social media journalism.

Lewis said the creation of an additional newsroom division represents a “definitive step away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach and moving towards meeting our audiences where they are.”

The changes to leadership come as Lewis moves quickly to turn around The Post, which soared with audience growth during the chaotic Donald Trump presidency but has since struggled to find its footing.

Lewis, who unveiled the main contours of his revival plan last month, disclosed to staffers that the newspaper lost $77 million last year and 50% of its audience since 2020.

“To speak candidly,” Lewis told staffers during a 90-minute meeting, “we are in a hole, and we have been for some time.”

Like Lewis, Murray previously spent much of his career inside Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Murray worked at The Wall Street Journal for 29 years, stepping down from the top role at the business broadsheet last year.

“I’m deeply honored to join such a storied news institution with its long, rich history of memorable and impactful journalism and want to thank Sally for her great leadership,” Murray said in the statement. “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.”

This story had been updated with new information.

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