Debra Leithauser leaves Washington Post for McClatchy

Debra Leithauser, who edits the Washington Post’s Weekend section, is leaving the paper to be editor of McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. She became Weekend editor in July 2010. Memo follows:

We are delighted to announce that Debra Leithauser, an editor at the Washington Post with experience at every level of our business including the wire service, will be the new editor of McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. She brings a wealth of experience, high energy and a strong command of digital journalism developed as a reporter, copy editor, designer, magazine editor, design director and managing editor over the past 20 years.

Debra emerged from a national search that drew more than 80 candidates and included a rigorous review by a panel of editors from Tribune and McClatchy newspapers and the MCT staff. Our emphasis was on strategic thinking, a thorough knowledge of the long-standing and digital needs of our industry and the ability to oversee the evolution of our work to serve a changing business. She begin her new job on May 28.

“Just as our industry has gone through transformative change, so must MCT transform its mission and scope to meet the needs of customers on whatever platform they need — Web, mobile, print and beyond,” she said. “It’s a big challenge and an exciting opportunity.”

In her first months on the job, Debra will be in touch with editors at McClatchy papers as she works on how to shape the service going forward. She has many ideas on how to create a good give-and-take with your newsrooms on new services, fresh products and improvements in how the service operates. We’ll also ask her to join one of our conference calls as she gets settled in the job for a conversation about MCT and your needs.

Debra began her career as a high school intern with so many good ideas and abilities she became a fixture at her hometown paper, the Orlando Sentinel. She went to the University of Florida, where she graduated with honors with a degree in journalism in 1992, and was a Duke University Media Fellow in 2007.

At the Sentinel, she worked as a reporter, copy editor, ran the paper’s weekly teen section and then became the editor and design director for the Sentinel’s Sunday magazine. At MCT, she held a series of positions, including editor, design director and managing editor. During 10 years at the Post, Debra worked as an editor, helped lead a redesign of the paper, oversaw the Sunday magazine and recently led the launch of the new digital city guide.

Her five years at MCT give her a knowledge of the service and the business and let her work closely with Jane Scholz, who she replaces in this role. Much of her emphasis in leading MCT will be on how to adapt what we do with the huge changes coming to our industry. On this, Debra brings a wealth of ideas and critical thinking.

Debra lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with her husband Tom, who is also a journalist. They have two rambunctious boys, Luke, 8, and Zack, 3.

Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli writes staff:

Colleagues, we’re sorry to announce that Debra Leithauser, the Going Out Guide and Weekend editor, is leaving to rejoin McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, as its editor.

Deb is a creative dynamo who in her nine years at The Post has taken on a number of big, complicated editing tasks and worked tirelessly to figure out how to improve the sections and products she has run. She managed The Source and TV Week. She successfully completed the integration of Going Out Guide, our online entertainment-planning platform, with Weekend, our popular Friday tabloid section. Before that, she was editor of The Washington Post Magazine and worked closely with the business side to revamp it. She was also a central contributor to our 2009 redesign.

A journalist since she was in high school, Deb has always brought energy, thoughtfulness, and enthusiasm to her work. We wish her the best in her new role.

Marcus Liz

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