May 11, 2021

Sally Buzbee has been named the new executive editor of The Washington Post, the newspaper announced Tuesday. The appointment is history-making, marking the first time a woman has been appointed to lead the news organization since it began publishing in 1877.

Buzbee, who has been the senior vice president and executive editor of The Associated Press since early 2017, is scheduled to start her new role June 1.

“The Washington Post is an institution with a rich journalistic legacy that is on the cutting edge of digital media,” Buzbee said in a written statement. “This puts The Post at the forefront of journalism’s future and presents an enormous opportunity for growth. It will be an honor to lead this incredible group of journalists.”

Buzbee succeeds Marty Baron, who left The Post at the end of February after announcing he would retire. The AP, in turn, announced Tuesday that it will begin its search for a new executive editor. Buzbee directed the AP’s global news report throughout the Trump administration and other big stories like the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over racial injustice and the 2020 election. 

In a written statement, The Washington Post Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said Buzbee has an exceptional record of achievement and a tremendous wealth of experience in leading a global news organization.

“In an extensive search that included many of the best journalists in America, Sally stood out as the right person to lead The Post going forward,” Ryan’s statement read. “She is widely admired for her absolute integrity, boundless energy, and dedication to the essential role journalism plays in safeguarding our democracy.”

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds interviewed Buzbee last October about election night calls for the presidential election. “Providing accurate, fair, nonpartisan journalism of all sorts is the critically important thing that AP does each day,” she told Edmonds in a breakdown of AP’s plans.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt described Buzbee’s departure as bittersweet news.

“Sally has been an exceptional leader, guiding AP’s journalists and news report through some of the most pivotal news events of our time,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We are sorry to lose Sally but very happy for her as she takes this next step in her career. We look forward to watching Sally succeed at the Post.”

According to The New York Times, Buzbee, 55, began her journalism career at the AP in 1988 as a reporter in her home state of Kansas. Along the way to becoming the AP’s executive editor and senior vice president, she also served as its Washington bureau chief.

Congratulations have begun to pour in on Twitter for the veteran journalist, from journalists with The Post and AP. Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief and assistant managing editor at the AP, said she was bursting with pride for Buzbee and excited for friends at The Post to have the chance to work with her. 

“There is simply no better newsroom leader and mentor than Sally,” Pace tweeted.

Pace also added that Buzbee is “an amazing mom and role model for other working moms in journalism.”

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Amaris Castillo is a writing/research assistant for the NPR Public Editor and a contributor to Poynter.org. She’s also the creator of Bodega Stories and a…
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