Washington Post undergoes major changes as executive editor steps down amid financial losses

Publisher William Lewis warns of 'losing large amounts of money' and the need for 'decisive' and 'urgent' changes in the newsroom.

Washington Post undergoes major changes as executive editor steps down amid financial losses
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
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The Washington Post is facing significant upheaval as its executive editor, Sally Buzbee, stepped down after a three-year tenure directing the newspaper's coverage. In a meeting with WaPo staff, publisher and CEO William Lewis candidly discussed the challenges the newspaper is facing, including substantial financial losses and a struggle to maintain readership.

Lewis reportedly warned that "decisive" and "urgent" changes are needed in the newsroom, stating, "We are going to turn this thing around, but let's not sugarcoat it. It needs turning around. We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. Right. I can't sugarcoat it anymore."

The Post, like other left-wing outlets and cable news channels, experienced a surge in audience size during Donald Trump's presidency, reaching 101 million unique visitors a month in 2020, per the Associated Press. However, that number has since dropped to 50 million at the end of last year, with the Post reporting $77 million in losses for 2023.

Matt Murray, the former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, will take over as executive editor through the 2024 presidential election. Murray, who previously worked with Lewis at the Journal, expressed his focus on pushing forward and embracing new opportunities for growth rather than "managing decline."

After the election, Robert Winnett, the deputy editor of the Telegraph Media Group, will assume leadership of the Post's core news beats, while Murray will shift to overseeing a new company division called the "third newsroom," the details of which remain unclear.

The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos since 2013, has been routinely criticized for its perceived left-wing bias, particularly in its negative coverage of Trump and other Republicans. The newspaper adopted the slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" beneath its logo just a month after Trump took office in 2017, although it claimed the slogan was adopted long before Trump became the Republican presidential nominee.

Bezos, who has condemned Trump's remarks about the media in the past, believes that it is "dangerous to demonize the media" and call them the "enemy of the people." However, Trump has slammed the Post and its connection to Bezos, suggesting that the newspaper is used as protection against antitrust claims against Amazon.

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