Washington Post National Editor Scott Wilson has left his position after disputes with his superiors over newsroom resources for his coverage areas, according to informed sources at the newspaper. The move comes after Wilson, a veteran Postie who has covered the White House and served as a foreign correspondent, reportedly yelled at a fellow editor in a conversation about the duties of digital editors.
Impetus for the dispute comes from an Aug. 18 Post memo that created a fresh newsroom reporting structure designed to broaden the paper’s digital audience. Toward that end, digital editors who once reported to their bosses at the various desks — Metro, Sports, National, etc. — would now be reporting to a cross-cutting digital hierarchy. Wilson didn’t appreciate having resources yanked out from under him. The longtime journalist felt “blindsided,” according to an informed source, and apprised his colleagues of his feelings.
In one meeting about the shift, Wilson lost his temper with Megan Chan, director of digital operations at The Post. “He yelled at her like crazy,” says the source.
That’s the wrong way to handle stress, but make no mistake: There’s nothing but tension and fatigue in this position.
Wilson told the Erik Wemple Blog, “I can be a jerk and I was a jerk to colleagues I value. You can’t lead and you can’t be effective in The Post’s newsroom acting like that. It’s that simple, and I only have myself to blame.”
The national section of The Post employs about 110 journalists who just so happen to hover over the stress points of 2017 coverage: the White House, which drives news all week long and all weekend long; national security, which is scrambling to beat and match the New York Times and other news outlets in producing scoops on the investigations into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia; and regular old national coverage of events like Hurricane Harvey. And now Irma. The boss of all this presides over a 24-hour torrent of attention-begging emails, high-profile edits, managerial snafus, complaints, correction requests and Twitter-borne attacks from the president.
The Post has issued this newsroom-wide memo on the move:
Our colleague Scott Wilson, who has served admirably as National editor since December 2015, has decided to return to writing. Scott is a formidable reporter and writer and we are discussing what role he will undertake.
The leadership of the National staff is in good hands, with Lori Montgomery as deputy National editor and Steven Ginsberg as senior politics editor, and we will shortly have more to say about Scott’s successor.