Accuracy in Media

In a move that was not totally unexpected, The Washington Post announced yesterday that executive editor Marcus Brauchli will step down at the end of the year and be replaced by Marty Baron, who has been the editor of the Boston Globe for the past 11 years.

Brauchli, who has clashed with Post publisher Katharine Weymouth, will remain with the company as a vice president.

Read Brauchli’s memo to the staff:

To the Staff:

After nearly four and a half years as executive editor, I will step down at year’s end.

It has been a privilege and honor to work with you. What we’ve accomplished in this time, and what you accomplish every day, is a tribute to your ambition, discipline and personal dedication.

You’ve taken on the hardest targets in journalism — the self-entrenching national-security establishment, pervasive Congressional conflicts of interest, corrosive local corruption, economic and fiscal gridlock, a marathon national election, wars, revolutions and epidemics, distant tsunamis, nearby Frankenstorms, city-suffocating Snowmageddons, and even a Cinderella-minus-the-slipper baseball season-and set the highest standard every time.

We have reorganized, melded and streamlined our news operations, and emerged stronger than we started. That is not, as cynics would have it, simply a function of fewer people doing more, but of awareness that we are responsible for our destiny as never before. We are pioneers in blogs and social media, in managing and maximizing our engagement with readers, and in deploying new technologies and approaches. The Post’s newsroom is the source of our strength, of original and insightful news and commentary, of ideas that shape our world, of information that guides readers, and of stories and voices that connect them. The result is that today we have a bigger audience, more viewers and more users who follow and watch what we do, than ever.

The Post’s legacy looms large for us all. I have been especially fortunate to have had distinguished and wise predecessors who have been supportive of the adaptations we have made to the formidable foundations they set down.

But in the end it is you who deserve my gratitude. I especially want to recognize Liz Spayd, who has been a steady and wise partner, and the other senior editors I have worked with most closely. The galaxy of talent in this newsroom continues to etch its brilliance every day into the firmament of this city and this nation. May it long continue.

Thank you for letting me work among you.


Brauchli’s streamlining has not had the positive effect that he brags about, however, as personnel cutbacks have led to an increasingly disgruntled staff and numerous copy-editing errors that had even the paper’s ombudsman screaming.

During Brauchli’s tenure, the Post’s circulation and advertising revenue have declined sharply, turning the paper from a cash cow into a financial albatross.

Weymouth may be hoping that bringing in Baron will help stem the tide, but since she said that there would be no change in strategy, it is hard to see how the Post’s long financial decline will end anytime soon.

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