Six Questions for New Washington Post Editor Sally Buzbee

From a story on by Katelyn Fossett headlined “Six questions with Sally Buzbee, the Washington Post’s new editor”:

On Tuesday, the Washington Post announced it has found a new editor to take the helm: Sally Buzbee, the 55-year-old executive editor of the AP, who will be the Post’s first woman editor since the paper started publishing in 1877. The news came after a long search in which most of the potential replacements mentioned in the press were men, and after reports of sexism in newsrooms across America generally, and at the Washington Post specifically.

How is Buzbee prepared to take on these problems, and what is her vision for the paper in general? I spoke with her over email and asked her about her priorities, creating a better culture for women and people of color and how to bring the Post’s social media policy into the 21st century.

What can you tell us about your overall vision for the Washington Post? What do you think the paper should do more of, and what do you want to do less of?

The Washington Post is already a massive powerhouse in the media industry and has readers around the world. I think it can become the country’s most essential news source and vastly expand its global footprint. … This is a time for growth, and priority one is immersing myself in the operations and finding those areas for growth. … Done right, we can make deep, solid, credible journalism attractive as possible to as many people as we can. And connect the dots and tell people stories that have direct relevance to their lives.

You’ve been in journalism since the 1980s. How have you observed the culture change, and in particular, how has it changed for women and people of color?

One of the most substantial things that has changed is that newsrooms are now focused on diversity and having the important but sometimes difficult conversations that are necessary for progress. A focus on and investment in diversity must remain a priority in news organizations, and no matter how well we think we’re doing, we can always do better. It takes consistent dedication to move the needle, and we should never say we’re satisfied. Newsrooms need to be inclusive in our culture and also in our coverage, and we need to ensure that we aren’t just hiring diverse voices but really listening to them.

Are you concerned about the challenge of sustaining high audience and subscriber numbers at mainstream news organizations after Trump?

Definitely not. The Washington Post has consistently grown over the years, and I anticipate we will see continued growth in the years ahead. As much as people want to believe there is no other news story that will attract audiences, it is simply not the case.

What strengths of the AP newsroom do you think you can bring over to the Washington Post?

The Associated Press is a global news organization, which aligns with The Washington Post’s ambitions. I think some people still have an outdated picture in their mind of The Associated Press, but we have award-winning visual journalists, deeply reported investigations and our reporting serves the digital first model….

Do you think the current Washington Post social media policy is fair and reflects the realities of how reporters today engage with social media?

Social media is undeniably complicated, and I plan to spend time listening and learning as we think about how we navigate this issue going forward. We are going to need to reconcile the seemingly opposing forces of building our people and personalities to help connect with our younger audiences and uphold our journalistic standards on social media….

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about sexism in newsrooms. How do you make sure, from the top, that newsrooms are valuing and promoting women and putting them in the position to be you one day?

We have to pay attention to how the operation is running from the top down, and we need to ensure we maintain a culture that enables people to speak up without fear of reprisal. We also have to look at leadership roles and ensure we are giving employees real opportunities to move up the ranks.

Katelyn Fossett is an associate editor for POLITICO Magazine.

Speak Your Mind