News & Politics

Sally Buzbee Is the Washington Post’s New Top Editor

Buzbee comes to the Post from the Associated Press. She'll be the first woman to run the newsroom.

Sally Buzbee in 2018. Photograph courtesy AP Corporate Communications.

Sally Buzbee will be the new executive editor of the Washington Post. Buzbee is currently the executive editor of the Associated Press and will be the first woman to run the Post newsroom. Buzbee is “widely admired for her absolute integrity, boundless energy, and dedication to the essential role journalism plays in safeguarding our democracy,” Post publisher Fred Ryan wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

Buzbee’s appointment comes after a search that was conducted largely out of view from most Post employees and took place during a time when naturally gossipy journalists might have picked up clues about who was in the mix. Still, her name was not one of those bandied about by most media-watchers, including Washingtonian, while some were handicapping who might replace Marty Baron at the Post. Just last week, the Daily Beast reported that the hunt had likely come down to two people, neither of whom are named Sally Buzbee.

In an interview with Post reporter Paul Farhi, Ryan said Buzbee was the “runaway unanimous choice” after meetings with him and Post owner Jeff Bezos. Bezos interviewed finalists for the job last week in Washington, Farhi reports.

Buzbee has experience in foreign reporting, in political coverage, and in investigations, Ryan wrote in his memo, and she’ll start on June 1.

Full memo from Ryan:

Dear Washington Post colleagues,

Ten weeks ago, we set out to find a world-class executive editor who will lead The Washington Post to new levels of success for years to come. We looked for someone steeped in the courageous journalism that is the Post’s hallmark, and who can extend our reach to new audiences in the U.S. and abroad. We sought a bold leader who can manage our dynamic newsroom and bureaus across the globe. We hoped to find a thoughtful, generous mentor for our growing team of exceptionally talented journalists. We looked carefully for someone who shares our values of diversity and inclusion, and who is committed to prioritizing them in our news coverage as well as our hiring and promotion.

During the search process, we were impressed by, and grateful for, our conversations with many of the very best journalists in America. All were men and women of incredible accomplishment with well-deserved reputations for leadership. But one stood out. Today, I am thrilled to announce that Sally Buzbee will become the next executive editor of the Washington Post.

Sally brings to her new role an exceptional record of achievement and tremendous wealth of experience. Most recently, as executive editor of the Associated Press, she has led one of the world’s largest and most respected news organizations. During her years as the AP’s Cairo-based Middle East bureau chief, she oversaw coverage of the Iraq war and other conflicts in a challenging and dangerous news environment. She has a deep appreciation of the investigations for which the Post is renowned, having led award-winning reporting teams whose work has held powerful institutions to account. As the AP’s former Washington bureau chief, Sally is also thoroughly familiar with the sophisticated, fast-paced political reporting that distinguishes the Post, having led coverage of the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. And her work as the AP’s deputy managing editor—a role that focused on advancing the organization’s global news operation and technological capabilities—has helped shape her ambitious vision for the Post’s digital future.

Sally’s Post colleagues will also benefit from her remarkable character. She is widely admired for her absolute integrity, boundless energy, and dedication to the essential role journalism plays in safeguarding our democracy.

Sally is an inspiring leader and accomplished journalist in the finest traditions of The Washington Post. She will officially become executive editor on June 1, 2021. Please join me in extending her a warm welcome.

Fred.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.