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NEW YORK (AP) – Re-energized by owner Jeff Bezos, The Washington Post on Tuesday named Associated Press veteran Sally Buzbee as editor, making her the first woman in the newspaper’s 144-year history to lead the newsroom.
She takes over from retired Marty Baron in one of journalism’s most famous jobs, the same role legendary Ben Bradlee played when The Post helped break up the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.
Buzbee, 55, has worked for the AP since 1988 in positions that included the Washington bureau chief, and has been its senior vice president and editor since 2017.
The Post, acquired from the Graham family by Amazon’s Bezos in 2013, employs 1,000 journalists at 26 locations around the world, up from 12 in 2013. Under Baron, who took over in 2013, he won 10 Pulitzer Prizes and has been recognized for his hard-hitting coverage of Donald Trump.
In an interview, Buzbee highlighted his commitment to diversity and to telling stories convincingly across many formats.
“The challenge for journalism everywhere is to meet audiences where they are and to make our journalism as accessible, accurate and transparent as possible,” she said. “The Post has an amazing team that is in many ways at the forefront of finding out how to do this. “
Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Post, highlighted his accomplishments and experience leading a global news organization.
“In extensive research that included many of America’s best journalists, Sally has established herself as the right person to lead The Post going forward,” said Ryan. “She is widely admired for her absolute integrity, boundless energy and dedication to the vital role journalism plays in safeguarding our democracy.”
Buzbee flew under the radar in the closely watched search for Baron’s successor. In a way, this is due to the PA’s position in the industry, both ubiquitous and somewhat invisible, as it sells its journalism to thousands of outlets that use it on their websites. , their first pages and their broadcasts.
Yet with its 250 offices around the world and strong operations in video, text, audio, and photography, managing the PA is one of journalism’s most complex tasks.
Buzbee has led AP journalism through the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump’s presidency, the #MeToo movement, Brexit, and racial injustice protests. She focused on breaking news in all formats and deepened the AP’s corporate and investigative efforts.
Under his leadership, the PA won the Pulitzer Prizes for Feature Film Photography and International Reporting, and had six other Pulitzer finalists.
At a time when leadership diversity is closely watched, Buzbee’s appointment comes shortly after Kevin Merida, a black man who has worked at the Post for more than two decades, was hired as editor of the Los Angeles. Times. ABC News and MSNBC have hired black executives in recent months.
Wesley Lowery, a former Post reporter now at CBS News, referred to Merida in a tweet Tuesday: Diversity is the whole story of newsroom diversity efforts.
Buzbee said the AP made significant strides in diversity and opening up avenues to leadership while in charge.
“What I look forward to is getting to know the (Post) staff, diving into and continuing this commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she said. . “I think this is one of the highest priorities for every news organization going forward, and it really is mine.”
The Post has made a dramatic turnaround, especially as a digital organization, since Bezos bought it. His website has over 80 million unique visits per month. But the presence of the founder of Amazon is closely watched; Trump has continually emphasized the connection.
Buzbee said she was impressed with how the Post maintained its independence in the news pages.
Buzbee, from Olathe, Kansas, joined the AP as a reporter in Topeka. She was a correspondent in San Diego, then in 1995 joined the Washington office, where she eventually became deputy office manager.
In 2004, Buzbee became PA editor-in-chief for the Middle East, based in Cairo, where she directed coverage of the Iraq war, the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the Darfur crisis and the growth of terrorist cells in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere.
In 2010, she was promoted to Associate Editor at the agency’s New York City headquarters and led the founding of the Nerve Center, AP’s now integrated center for global news coordination and customer communications.
Later that year, she was appointed chief of the Washington bureau, where she oversaw coverage of the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, the White House, Congress, the Pentagon, and the poll and investigation teams of the office.
“AP is one of the most important news organizations in the world and it has truly been the honor and joy of my life to be connected to it,” she said. “I have learned so much and am truly grateful for every day I have spent at PA.”
Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of AP, said Buzbee was “an exceptional leader” and while her hiring by post is bittersweet news, it also reflects well the organization she left behind. behind her.
“It shows that the PA is operating at the absolute highest level of journalism,” he said.
Pruitt said the search for a new editor will begin immediately and he expects it to take a few months. In the meantime, the duties of editor-in-chief will be shared by AP vice president and editor Brian Carovillano, who will lead AP’s reporting, and AP vice president and editor David Scott, who will lead AP reporting. will take care of operations.
Buzbee takes over at La Poste on June 1.
Baron, his predecessor, was highly respected for the Post’s turnaround and his role as the Trump administration’s watchdog. Baron was played by Liev Schreiber in the movie “Spotlight”, during his days as head of the Boston Globe while investigating child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests.
“It inspires me,” said Buzbee, “but it doesn’t intimidate me.”