Karen DeYoung, national editor of The Washington Post, has been named assistant managing editor for national news. She will assume the post in September.

She will replace Robert G. Kaiser, who has been named deputy managing editor.

DeYoung, 41, joined The Post in 1975 as a Metro reporter covering Prince George's County. Two years later she became the paper's Latin American bureau chief, first in Buenos Aires and then in Mexico City. DeYoung served as deputy foreign editor and then foreign editor in Washington from 1980 until 1985, when she again went overseas as The Post's London bureau chief. She become national editor in January 1989.

"Her outstanding performance in these many demanding roles has prepared her well to star as an AME," said Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee and Managing Editor Leonard Downie Jr. in an announcement to the Post's news staff.

The assistant managing editor for national news is responsible for overall direction of national news coverage, while the national editor focuses on daily operations and individual stories and reporters.

Downie said DeYoung's experience as a manager and her broad background as a local and foreign reporter put her in a good position to take over the job.

DeYoung "is a very good reporter and editor who understands how reporters and editors do their best work, so she knows how to motivate them," he added.

Downie said that Kaiser and DeYoung in their current positions already have set up a direction for the news staff and he would not expect them to diverge from that course in their new roles.

Among the changes being made are a new focus on developments in other parts of the country and more attention to how decisions made in Washington affect people across the nation.

In addition, Downie said, the paper is rethinking how it covers politics.

"What goes on inside candidates' camps and what goes on in voters' minds are often quite different," and one of DeYoung's challenges will be to reorient coverage toward voters' interests, he said.

Downie also pointed to "an explosion in readers' interest in sociological and demographic reporting" as well as science and medical technology as areas receiving new emphasis.

DeYoung's successor as national editor has not yet been named.