David Shipley Named Editor of Washington Post Editorial Page

From a Washington Post story by Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi headlined “David Shipley named editor of Washington Post editorial page”:

David Shipley, the top editor of Bloomberg’s opinion section, was named editor of The Washington Post’s editorial page, filling one of the most senior jobs at the newspaper and one of the most influential in American journalism. Shipley succeeds longtime opinions editor Fred Hiatt, who died in December

Shipley, 59, is a well-respected but somewhat surprising choice to oversee The Post’s more than 80-member opinion staff, which operates independently from its news department and has been led by editors elevated from internal ranks for more than 60 years. He is the second top editor to be appointed by publisher Fred Ryan from outside the newspaper; last year he named Sally Buzbee, a former top editor of the Associated Press, as the executive editor of The Post’s news staff.

In a memo to staff, Ryan wrote that Shipley “emerged as a standout in an exhaustive search that involved more than 150 candidates” and began after Hiatt’s death.

Deputy editorial page editors Ruth Marcus and Karen Tumulty have run the department on an interim basis.

A Post spokeswoman said Shipley was unavailable for an interview because he is continuing to work at Bloomberg for the next few weeks. Shipley said he was “thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside the remarkable team that Fred Hiatt built.”…

Shipley’s appointment comes at a tumultuous time for opinion journalism at American newspapers. The New York Times, which introduced the first “op-ed” section consisting of guest editorials in 1970, has recently reduced the number of opinion pieces it publishes by about 25 percent while expanding into other forms, such as audio, video and graphics. Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, has been radically shrinking its editorial sections, prompted by both cost-cutting pressures and research indicating that many readers are repelled by overt opinion or confused by how it’s supposed to differ from the news coverage….

Ryan, The Post’s publisher, said that the newspaper considered candidates from journalism, academia, think tanks and publishing before selecting Shipley.

“We wanted someone who can focus on big ideas, manage a cross-section of editors and contributors and can help us offer a wider range of more thoughtful views,” he said. Shipley, he said, “checked every box.”

Personal views and ideology played little role in the selection, Ryan said. “The Post has been noted for its longtime independence in its [editorial] voice, and we will remain an independent voice,” he said. “David has been very good at surfacing a range of views at the places he’s worked and that’s what makes him so good for The Washington Post.”

Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos met with Shipley and endorsed the selection, Ryan said.

Shipley spent more than a decade at Bloomberg, where he helped create its opinion section. He previously worked at the New York Times as a deputy editorial page editor and op-ed editor, and once served as executive editor of the left-leaning New Republic magazine.

His resume is dotted with center-left credentials, having worked both for President Bill Clinton, as a speechwriter and special assistant in the 1990s, and for former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, who founded the news service that bears his name. After joining Bloomberg in 2010 to launch its opinion section, Shipley briefly stepped down in 2019 to work for Bloomberg’s short-lived campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Shipley will join The Post after Labor Day, according to Ryan. He will be only the fourth editor to guide The Post’s opinion sections since the late 1960s. Meg Greenfield, the storied columnist and editor, succeeded Philip L. Geyelin in 1979 and held the position for 20 years. Stephen S. Rosenfeld briefly was interim editor after Greenfield’s death in 1999 until his retirement in 2000, when Hiatt took over.

A foreign correspondent for The Post before he became an editorial writer, Hiatt oversaw the transformation of the department as it adapted to the digital era, including the expansion of a global cadre of writers who contributed opinion pieces to the section.

Hiatt and his fellow editorial board members would debate issues of the day and write the unsigned editorials that represented the institutional voice of The Post. They tackled topics such as campaign finance reform, abortion rights and international relations. In 2003, they expressed support for the invasion of Iraq, a position mirrored by much of mainstream media and politicians at the time.

During Hiatt’s tenure, three columnists won Pulitzer Prizes, and staff members were finalists multiple times, as was Hiatt himself. The Post won the gold medal for Public Service this year for its Capitol attack coverage, which included an editorial written on the night of Jan. 6, 2021 calling for then-president Donald Trump to be removed from office.

Hiatt also helped lead an editorial campaign demanding accountability for the brutal killing of Khashoggi. A U.S. intelligence report eventually concluded Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul had been approved by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In one editorial directed at the crown prince and signed under his own name, Hiatt wrote, “Why bring a bonesaw to a kidnapping, Your Highness?”

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post’s media reporter. He started at The Post in 1988 and has been a financial reporter, a political reporter and a Style reporter.

Elahe Izadi covers media for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2014 as a general assignment reporter, and has covered pop culture, Congress, demographics and breaking news.

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