News & Politics

Robert Winnett Won’t Become the Washington Post’s Editor After All

The controversial journalist will remain in Britain, publisher Will Lewis tells staff.

Photograph by Evy Mages .

The British journalist Robert Winnett will not become the Washington Post‘s next editor, the Post reported Friday morning. He’ll remain at the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Elahe Izadi reports:

“I’m pleased to report that Rob Winnett has decided to stay with us,” Telegraph editor Chris Evans wrote in a memo to staff. “As you all know, he’s a talented chap and their loss is our gain.”

The “talented chap” may not have been that welcome in the Post newsroom, which published a story on Sunday about his reported ties to a man who described himself as a “common thief” who claimed to have used dishonest methods to deliver scoops for the Sunday Times when Winnett worked there.

Winnett was hired by Post publisher Will Lewis, another British import who has been likewise embattled since Sally Buzbee stepped down as the publication’s executive editor earlier this month amid a plan by Lewis to divide the newsroom into three entities: A news operation led by his former colleague Winnett, its opinion shop run by David Shipley, and a new newsroom dedicated to service journalism and social media, which Buzbee reportedly declined to run. Winnett was scheduled to join the Post after the November election; former Wall Street Journal top editor Matt Murray is currently serving as executive editor.

Murray will now remain as editor after the election, Lewis told staffers in a memo Friday. The Post will undertake a “timely but thorough search for this important leadership role,” he wrote.

The New York Times reported that Lewis and Buzbee had butted heads over the publication of an article regarding Lewis’ involvement in the sprawling phone-hacking scandal in the UK. Lewis denied that such a clash occurred, and he described NPR media reporter David Folkenflik “an activist, not a journalist” after Folkenflik reported that Lewis had “repeatedly — and heatedly —offered to give me an exclusive interview about the Post’s future, as long as I dropped the story about the allegations.”

Here’s Lewis’ email to staff Friday about Winnett’s non-arrival.

Dear colleagues,

It is with regret that I share with you that Robert Winnett has withdrawn from the position of Editor at The Washington Post. Rob has my greatest respect and is an incredibly talented editor and journalist. The leadership at The Telegraph Media Group are reaffirming his continued role as deputy editor.

We will immediately launch a new search for Editor of our core coverage. We will soon announce both the recruiting firm and process we will utilize to ensure a timely but thorough search for this important leadership role.

In the meantime, we are fortunate to have the leadership of Matt Murray who will continue in his role as Executive Editor until after the U.S. elections and also carry forward planning and leading the third newsroom. In parallel, we will continue our Build It efforts on the third newsroom with the timeline for full implementation in Q1 2025.

Thank you,


Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.