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Washington Post names Sally Buzbee first woman to lead newsroom

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By Helen Coster

(Reuters) – The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post named Sally Buzbee executive editor on Tuesday, effective June 1, making her the first woman to lead the newsroom in the paper’s 144-year history.

Buzbee succeeds Martin “Marty” Baron, who retired from the paper at the end of February, setting off a 10-week search for his replacement.

Buzbee has been executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press since early 2017, overseeing the AP’s global news operation, which produces content for over 15,000 news outlets from nearly 250 locations worldwide.

Under Baron and Amazon.com founder Bezos, who bought the paper for $250 million in 2013, the Post has expanded its newsroom, broadened its coverage and invested in its digital operations. It now has about 3 million digital-only subscribers, up nearly a million in the last year, and a 1,000-person newsroom.

In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Washington Post Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Fred Ryan praised, among other qualities, Buzbee’s work as the AP’s deputy managing editor, a role that “has helped shape her ambitious vision for the Post’s digital future.”

The announcement is the latest in a string of newsroom successions. On May 3 the Los Angeles Times named Kevin Merida as its executive editor. Reuters last month named Alessandra Galloni its new editor in chief, the first woman to lead the news agency in its 170-year history.

In the 1960s, Katharine Graham broke a different glass ceiling at the Post. Graham – who became the paper’s publisher after her husband committed suicide – went on to lead the Post through its coverage of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-in. She was one of the first female publishers of an American newspaper.

(Reporting by Helen Coster; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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