Is Marcus Brauchli Soon to Be Out at the “Washington Post”?

Once again, rumors are swirling that the editor’s departure is imminent.

Reports of editor Marcus
Brauchli’s imminent departure have been circulating within the
Washington Post since the first of the year. He was supposed to have been gone by spring, but he
lasted through that season, then the summer. Now once again, despite denials by Brauchli
and senior management, rumors are swirling that his days are numbered.

“The rumors heat up and cool down, but they never stop,” says one editor. “It’s a
distraction.”

When we contacted
Post officials in the chain of command, they scoffed at the rumors—but they didn’t bother
to reaffirm their support for Brauchli. So how to assess the reports? Are they “third-hand,
inconsistent buzz,” as one Postie says? Or are
Post reporters picking up on early signs of Brauchli’s end?

Brauchli, 51, has been at the helm for four years. Publisher
Katharine Weymouth hired him to succeed
Leonard Downie Jr. in September 2008. Word in the newsroom is that Weymouth’s ardor for Brauchli has
cooled, and they have fought over budget cuts. Another report has her interviewing
potential replacements.

Rumors came to a head this month during the Democratic convention, when massive computer
problems forced editors to scramble to put out a paper with jury-rigged backup systems.

Post reporters and editors at the Republican National Convention had cornered Brauchli
about the rumors. He said they were just that. But at the Democratic Convention in
Charlotte, reporters said Brauchli was “less convincing.”

Who might be the next
Post editor, in the line of the great
Ben Bradlee?

When someone posted an Instagram image of Brauchli singing karaoke with
Seattle Times editor
David Boardman at a journalism conference last month, it immediately began trending on Twitter—within
the
Post. Reporters saw it as more evidence that Brauchli was on his way out and that Boardman
would replace him.

Or would it be
Boston Globe editor
Marty Baron, also a hot prospect in newsroom gossip?

Might Weymouth make a run at
New York Times managing editor
Dean Baquet? She’s not talking.

If Brauchli departs any time soon, he would leave the
Post’s top newsroom leadership in disarray. Brauchli hired his former
Wall Street Journal colleague
Raju Narisetti to manage the
Post’s digital side and merge the print and internet newsrooms. Narisetti moved back to
the
Journal in February.
Liz Spayd, a veteran Postie, shared managing editor duties with Narisetti. She’s stepping down
after the campaign.

John Temple could be teed up to take over. He took Narisetti’s spot in March. The former editor
and publisher of the
Rocky Mountain News is responsible for digital and local news. He’s still getting to know the
Post, but he’s well versed in the the print and social media realms and has the portfolio
to run the paper.

But is Katharine Weymouth ready to hand that portfolio over to someone new?

More from News & Politics