As The Washington Post ombudsman, Patrick Pexton serves as its internal critic and represents readers who have concerns or complaints on a wide range of topics including accuracy, fairness, ethics and the newsgathering process. In his role, he also promotes public understanding of the newspaper, its Web site and journalism more generally. He operates under a contract with The Washington Post that guarantees him independence.
Pexton has been a reporter and editor for 28 years. He has covered state and local government and politics in Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, as well as Congress, secretaries of Defense and State, and the U.S military worldwide. A Los Angeles native, Pexton graduated with a political science degree from Claremont McKenna College and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington.
Pexton came to The Post from National Journal, where he was deputy editor, the No. 2 job at the nonpartisan weekly magazine about politics and government. There he ran a 50-person newsroom and led a team of defense, foreign policy and intelligence reporters to nearly two dozen national journalism prizes. Pexton has written op-eds that have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsday, The New York Post and The Miami Herald.
Before National Journal, Pexton worked for the Army Times Publishing Co., where he was an editor, chief Pentagon correspondent and an investigative reporter who played a key role in uncovering two national stories about the U.S. Navy of the 1990s -- the Tailhook sexual harassment scandal, and the widespread cheating by midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. At the beginning of his career, Pexton worked at the Shoreline Times newspapers in Southern Connecticut, and the Journal newspapers in the Washington suburbs, covering the Maryland governor and legislature in Annapolis, Montgomery County politics and Maryland’s congressional delegation, in addition to a stint covering Alexandria city in Virginia.