Liz Spayd’s decision to leave the Washington Post after the presidential campaign will create a power vacuum at the Post. She became the paper’s first female managing editor in 2009. Who will replace her? Perhaps no one.
Spayd, who came to the Post in 1988, is the last connection at the leadership level to executive editors Ben Bradlee and Leonard Downie Jr. Executive editor Marcus Brauchli arrived after years at the Wall Street Journal and brought on his colleague, Raju Narisetti, as managing editor. He tapped Spayd as well. John Temple, former editor of the Rocky Mountain News, has replaced Narisetti, who returned to the Journal.
There are few obvious candidates among the women in leadership at the paper, according to sources. Sandy Sugawara, a veteran reporter and editor, is a Brauchli favorite. He appointed her to lead a team that directed news across the Post’s various platforms when Narisetti left. Deputy investigations editor Barbara Vobejda, another longtime Postie, has been mentioned. For a dark horse, what about Jane Elizabeth, head of digital news for Metro?
But it’s also quite possible Brauchli will broaden Temple’s duties to include Spayd’s domain of national and foreign news. For Postologists, that would put Temple in direct line to become executive editor.
Temple has been at the Post only a few months, but his timing is spot-on.
This article appears in the August 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.