New Post Editor Prepares for Change, Challenge

Former Wall Street Journal editor Marcus Brauchli addresses the newsroom Tuesday after being named executive editor of The Washington Post. Video by Francine Uenuma/
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 8, 2008; 1:27 PM

Marcus Brauchli, named yesterday as the new executive editor of The Washington Post, was introduced to the paper's newsroom today and expressed confidence that The Post can meet the formidable challenges that are transforming the newspaper industry.

Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth presented Brauchli, the former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, to hundreds of journalists assembled in the paper's newsroom a day after announcing her choice to succeed Leonard Downie Jr.

"It is a great honor and possibly the most challenging thing I have ever done," Brauchli said. He called The Post "a beacon of what is right in American journalism" and said he took comfort from the help he would receive from the paper's staff.

"Change is bearing down on all of us equally," he said. "I am confident we will meet every challenge."

Weymouth announced yesterday that Brauchli, 47, would succeed Downie, 66, as the paper's new executive editor effective Sept. 8, completing a generational leadership shift. Weymouth, the 42-year-old granddaughter of the late Washington Post Co. chairman Katharine Graham, took over in February as chief executive of Washington Post Media, a new division formed to oversee the newspaper and its online component,

As The Post's executive editor, Brauchli also will head the online operations of The Post, supervising the editors of the Web site, which is headquartered in Arlington.

Calling it "one of the hardest decisions I have ever made," Weymouth said she chose to go outside the newspaper for Downie's successor because she believed The Post could benefit from someone with "fresh eyes" as it faces an array of challenges.

"I was looking for someone with natural leadership and communication abilities," Weymouth said. She said the new executive editor "had to have the intellectual heft and journalistic credentials to gain the respect" of The Post's reporters and editors, and needed "the ability to think strategically about our newsroom."

Weymouth said she "weighed the pros and cons" of bringing in a new editor from outside. "We have a culture here . . . of promoting from within," she said. "That is a good thing, but not always."

She described Brauchli as "a strong, visionary leader for The Post newsroom" and said his 24 years of experience at the Wall Street Journal in a variety of roles will help the paper cope with the challenges of declining print circulation and revenue, readers with less time on their hands and the need to integrate The Post's print and online news operations.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company