Searching for a Top Editor at the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Other Big News Sites

From a post on by Angela Fu headlined “Who will lead America’s newsrooms?”

Some of America’s biggest newsrooms are looking to fill vacancies at the top of their mastheads.

As editors announce new career trajectories or retirement plans, the newsrooms they leave must assemble search committees and polish up job descriptions. Some of the bigger searches have set off waves of media reporting as onlookers try to guess who might take the top spot….

So here’s a list of vacant top editor positions, as well as details on who used to occupy them, why they left and which potential replacements search committees might be eyeing. We’ll update this list as positions open up.

Washington Post – Executive Editor

Former: Marty Baron (left Feb. 28)
Next move: Retirement
Interim: Cameron Barr (Washington Post managing editor)
Potential contenders: Barr, Steven Ginsberg (Washington Post national editor), Marc Lacey (New York Times assistant managing editor), Rebecca Blumenstein (New York Times deputy managing editor)

Baron made national headlines in January when he announced his decision to retire after more than eight years at the Post. During his tenure, he grew the newsroom from 580 journalists to more than 1,000 and oversaw coverage that won 10 Pulitzer Prizes. The search for his successor has been the source of intense speculation. Barr and Ginsberg are believed to be strong internal candidates, and potential external candidates include Lacey and Blumenstein, Poynter reported. Vanity Fair confirmed that all four have been scouted or have had “preliminary conversations” with management. Other possible contenders include New York Times deputy managing editor Ryan, National Geographic editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg and Minneapolis Star Tribune senior managing editor Rene Sanchez.

Shortly after Baron’s announcement, Washingtonian put out its own list, naming Post executive features editor Liz Seymour and foreign editor Douglas Jehl as other potential internal candidates. External candidates could include former Post journalists like Politico editor-in-chief John Harris and San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Emilio Garcia-Ruiz or outsiders like Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editor George Stanley and NPR senior vice president of news and editorial director Nancy Barnes.

Los Angeles Times – Executive Editor

Former: Norman Pearlstine (left Dec. 14)
Next move: Retirement
Potential contenders: Julia Turner (Los Angeles times deputy managing editor for entertainment, audio and strategy), Carolyn Ryan (New York Times deputy managing editor), Sewell Chan (Los Angeles Times editorial page editor), Kimi Yoshino (Los Angeles times managing editor)

Pearlstine announced his retirement in October after two years at the Los Angeles Times. He joined the Times in June 2018, when it was acquired by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong; by the time he left, the newsroom was in turmoil after a racial reckoning, a plagiarism scandal and allegations of “ethical lapses” and “bullying behavior” on the part of management.

The search for the Times’ next executive editor is still in the early stages, Soon-Shiong said at the beginning of March. Karen Danziger of Koller Search is assisting with the process. Internal candidates identified early in the search include Yoshino, Chan and Turner, The New York Times reported. That same report revealed that Associated Press executive editor Sally Buzbee and ESPN senior vice president and “The Undefeated” editor-in-chief Kevin Merida are possible external candidates. Ryan of The New York Times may also be in the running. Other names that have been floated by Los Angeles Magazine include Los Angeles Times deputy managing editor Shani O. Hilton and New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet — who some speculate will step down from his current position soon.

Former Hollywood Reporter editorial director Janice Min and Facebook vice president for global curation Anne Kornblut were also in the running but have since pulled out.

The Seattle Times – Managing Editor

Former: Ray Rivera (left Feb. 21)
Next move: Executive editor of The Oklahoman
Interim: Lynn Jacobson (Seattle Times deputy managing editor)

After more than three years at The Seattle Times, Rivera announced in January he would be leaving to head The Oklahoman. During his tenure at the Times, he oversaw the newsroom’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the two crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max. The Times hopes to fill the position within the next four to six weeks, said executive editor Michele Matassa Flores, who is leading the search for Rivera’s successor.

Chicago Sun-Times – Executive Editor

Former: Chris Fusco (left Oct. 2)
Next move: Founder and executive editor of Lookout Local
Interim: Steve Warmbir (Sun-Times managing editor)

Fusco announced he would leave the Sun-Times in September after 20 years, including three years as its editor-in-chief. The board of the Sun-Times is leading the search and hopes to fill the position by the end of June, CEO Nykia Wright said.

ABC News – President

Current: James Goldston (will leave March 31)
Next move: Unannounced
Top contenders: Derek Medina (ABC News executive vice president), Kim Godwin (CBS News executive vice president of news), Wendy Fisher (ABC News vice president of newsgathering), Marie Nelson (ABC News senior vice president of integrated content strategy)

After 17 years at ABC News, seven of which he spent as president, Goldston announced in January he would leave the network at the end of March. Shortly after Goldston’s announcement, Walt Disney Company TV chair Peter Rice said he would establish an “Office of the President” comprising Goldston and five other ABC News executives to search for the next president. Ad Weekly put together a breakdown of who could be Goldston’s successor, naming possible insider candidates like Medina, Fisher and Nelson, as well as broadcast executives like Godwin, NBC Nightly News senior vice president of editorial Janelle Rodriguez and NBC News vice president Ken Strickland. Another possibility? Phil Griffin, who left the MSNBC presidency on Feb. 1.

ProPublica – President

Current: Richard Tofel (will leave once replacement is found)
Next move: Retirement, will consult for publishers, teach and write at his Substack

Tofel is ProPublica’s first employee and has been with the nonprofit since its start in 2007. He announced his plans to retire in February and will leave behind a news organization with a $36.5 million budget, 43,000 donors and six Pulitzer Prizes. ProPublica’s board of directors is leading the search with the help of firm Blinkhorn LLC.

Center for Public Integrity – CEO

Former: Susan Smith Richardson (left March 12)
Next move: Deputy editor of The Guardian US
Interim: Kate Myers (interim COO, former First Look Media executive director)

After nearly two years at CPI, Smith Richardson announced in January that she would be leaving for a position at The Guardian US. A committee comprising six members of CPI’s board of directors is leading the search for her successor and has retained the firm Sally Sterling Executive Search.

Reuters – Editor-in-Chief

Current: Stephen J. Adler (will leave April 1)
Next move: Retirement, will focus on his work as a member of the boards of Columbia Journalism Review, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Committee to Protect Journalists
Potential contenders: Alessandra Galloni (Reuters global managing editor), Gina Chua (Reuters global managing editor of operations)

Appointed editor-in-chief in 2011, Adler has overseen the news service through seven Pulitzer Prizes. Reuters began the search for his replacement shortly after he announced his retirement in January. Top internal candidates include global managing editors Galloni and Chua, according to Talking Biz News. Other names that have been floated include head of financial news strategy Jonathan Leff and executive editor of professional news Amy Stevens. One Reuters staffer told Talking Biz News that many people believe the news agency will choose an external candidate.

Speak Your Mind