Harry M. Rosenfeld, an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post who directed the newspaper's coverage of the Watergate affair, yesterday was named editor of Capital Newspaper in Albany, N.Y.

J. Roger Grier, publisher of Capital Newspapers, announced the appointment of Rosenfeld to the newly established position in which Rosenfeld will oversee the news operations of the Albany Times-Union, the Knickerbocker News, the Sunday Times-Union and three weekly Sun Newspapers. The newspapers are part of the Hearst chain.

"I am particularly pleased that a man of Harry Rosenfeld's professional stature joins us here in Albany to help both the Times-Union and the Knickerbocker News along the road to excellence," Grier said. "It is our intention to make these newspapers among the very best in the United States."

Rosenfeld came to The Washington Post 12 years ago as its foreign editor. He was named an assistant managing editor in 1970. He directed the newspaper's coverage of metropolitan news for four years, then national news, and most recently was responsible for two Sunday sections, Outlook and Book World.

As assistant managing editor for metropolitan news, Rosenfeld guided the day-to-day coverage of Watergate, from the break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Office Building on June 17, 1972, through the resignation of President Nixon on Aug. 9, 1974. The post's Watergate coverage earned it the Pultizer gold medal for public service.

Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive editor of The Post, said yesterday of Rosenfeld, "We'll miss him tremendously. He did everything for this newspaper that a good journalist could do and Albany is lucky to have him."

Rosenfeld will assume his new position in Albany in October.

"I have spent 12 eventful years at The Washington Post and had the good fortune to work with the very best," Rosenfeld said. "Now I have the chance to do something I have not yet done and I am extremely pleased and excited by my new challenge in Albany."

Before joining The Post, Rosenfeld was foreign editor of The New York Herald Tribune and managing editor of that paper's news service. He also was an associate producer at CBS News.

Rosenfeld was cited by the Associated Press in a freedom of information award for his role in the Watergate coverage and he received the first amendment award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in Los Angeles. Other awards include one from the Black United Front here for coverage of community affairs.

Rosenfeld was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1929 and came to the United States in 1939. He was graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and from Syracuse University in 1952 with a B.A. in American literature. He did graduate work at Columbia University in international relations and a New York University in poetry.

Rosenfeld and his wife, Anne, a nursery school teacher, live in Kensington and have three daughters - Susan, a senior at Boston University; Amy, a junior at Duke University, and Stefanie, beginning high school.