Fred Hiatt has died. Hiatt had edited the Washington Post‘s opinion section since 2000 and oversaw its growth from a print-centric, mostly local concern to a digital powerhouse with national and international reach. He was 66. Here’s a memo from Post publisher Fred Ryan:
Dear Washington Post colleagues,
I am saddened to share that our long-time editorial page editor Fred Hiatt passed away this morning. All of us who worked with Fred know what a deep loss this is and how profoundly he will be missed.
Over the past two decades, Fred’s leadership made the Post’s editorial page into the most consequential in the news industry. Nearly every person in the department was hired by Fred, a great testament to his ability to identify and retain top talent. He was the steward of a group of lively and intelligent personalities of many diverging viewpoints held together by one common belief: They worked for one of the most brilliant, compassionate, funny, kind, and honorable men they would ever know.
Of course, Fred’s reach extended far beyond the editorial page. A forty-year veteran of the Post, he built friendships throughout the company and made immense contributions as a writer, an editor, and a mentor to so many across the organization. His legacy also spans the globe: Few journalists have rivaled his idealism and complete dedication to the causes of democracy and human rights worldwide.
We will miss Fred’s intellect and enthusiasm, his extraordinary leadership, and his unparalleled decency. Our thoughts go out to Fred’s best friend and wife, Pooh Shapiro, who has bravely navigated this tragedy, and to their three children and his granddaughter at this sad and difficult time.
We will keep you posted as plans come together to celebrate Fred’s remarkable life and his many contributions.
The Post has published an obituary of Hiatt.
Hiatt joined the Post in 1981; he’d previously reported for the Atlanta Journal and the Washington Star. He’d been a Pulitzer finalist three times and wrote four books, including two children’s books.
Hiatt spoke to Washingtonian in 2018 about the murder of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. “I feel like the only tool we have is good journalism,” he said. While the newsroom reported out the story, “what I can do is try and spotlight that reporting. And in various ways, remind readers—remind ourselves—of what the stakes are.”