The Washington Post newsroom was ablaze Friday with rumors that the long-rumored demise of Marcus Brauchli was imminent. Nothing. Silence. Monday—quiet.
It seemed as if the stench of a rotting body filled the newsroom.
“Not fair to Marcus,” a writer said.
Reports of Brauchli’s demise have been gathering and dissipating since late September, when The Washingtonian first floated Boston Globe editor Martin “Marty” Baron as his possible replacement.
Tuesday morning the Post called a newsroom meeting at 11:45 and announced that Baron would replace Brauchli. He’s scheduled to take over January 2.
Baron has been editing the Globe since 2001 and has won many plaudits along the way. The paper won a number of Pulitzer prizes, and Baron has been recognized as a top editor by Editor & Publisher. He’s been around, having worked at the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Miami Herald.
Reporters at the Globe remember Baron as the editor who stood up for them this summer when the Romney campaign demanded a correction of a Globe story. Mitt Romney had said he had cut ties with Bain Capital in 1999. Globe reporters unearthed documents that said the GOP presidential candidate was listed as a “sole stockholder” at Bain in 2002 and had been on the executive payroll in 2001 and 2002.
The Romney campaign demanded a correction. Baron declined.
Brauchli will not be remembered as a reporter’s editor.
Brauchli took over as the top Post editor in 2008 from Leonard Downie Jr. The hire by then-new publisher Katharine Weymouth was seen as daring, since Brauchli was the first newsroom leader who had not come from inside the Post.
Reporters and editors came to see Brauchli as a colorless leader who failed to motivate the troops during a time of shrinking coverage and a series of buyouts. Brauchli will go down as the executive editor who closed the paper’s national bureaus and oversaw the loss of some of the Post’s best bylines, including fashion writer Robin Givhan, investigative reporter James Grimaldi, and TV critic Tom Shales, among many others
In her comments, Weymouth recognized Brauchli for merging the Post’s print and digital newsrooms. The two were reported to be in conflict over the past few months over newsroom budgets. Brauchli was aware that Weymouth had been interviewing editors. He told intimates Weymouth knew very little about running a newsroom and that she might learn something from speaking to other editors.
The Post is kicking Brauchli upstairs to work on new media.