During Garcia-Ruiz’s tenure, The Post became one of the largest digital-news sites in the world, with monthly traffic regularly exceeding 80 million U.S. visitors and surpassing 100 million during the coronavirus pandemic. Digital-only subscriptions to The Post grew to more than 2.5 million this summer.
Garcia-Ruiz will join the Chronicle, long the San Francisco Bay area’s largest newspaper, next month. He succeeds Audrey Cooper, who left the newspaper this summer after five years leading its newsroom to become editor in chief of WNYC, the public-radio station in New York City.
Like almost all local news operations, the Chronicle has faced cutbacks brought on by declining print readership and advertising, as well as the challenges of maintaining its operations during the pandemic.
“The opportunity to lead the Chronicle’s newsroom at a time when local news has never been more vital was impossible to pass up,” Garcia-Ruiz said in an interview. “In the Bay Area, you have an iconic city and an entire region whose entire identity is being challenged by numerous forces. The Chronicle newsroom has the talent and ambition to tell the story well, and I want to be part of it. And I believe the lessons we have learned at The Post can be applied to the audience and financial challenges facing local news.”
“Emilio has an impressive track record of innovation and producing great journalism on all platforms,” Hearst Newspapers President Jeff Johnson said in a statement announcing the hire. “As we continue to develop our digital and video strategies, his experience and leadership will greatly benefit the Chronicle and the communities we serve.”
Garcia-Ruiz joined The Post in 1987 after graduating from the University of Maryland and briefly covering high school sports for the defunct Prince George’s Journal. He started working nights as a sports copy editor and moved quickly through the ranks to become an assistant editor.
After working as an assistant editor at the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, Garcia-Ruiz became sports editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Under his watch in 2000, reporter George Dohrmann won a Pulitzer Prize for revealing academic fraud in the men’s basketball program at the University of Minnesota, one of the few Pulitzers awarded for sports reporting.
He returned to The Post in 2001 as an assistant sports editor, becoming editor of the department two years later. During his tenure, from 2003 to 2009, he oversaw coverage of the return of Major League Baseball to Washington, and what he called “arguably the least successful period for Washington pro teams ever.”
He was named managing editor in May 2013, months before The Post was purchased by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
With an influx of manpower and resources, Garcia-Ruiz helped build The Post’s digital offerings, including an expansion of its video-news team, managing a new audio operation, and helping to introduce new publications, such as The Lily, which specializes in stories for millennial women, and travel site By the Way.
In a note to Post staff, Baron called Garcia-Ruiz “a leader of energy, enthusiasm, empathy and creativity who can provide experienced and astute leadership.”
“Even with his eyes fixed on the future, Emilio remains an evangelist for our traditional values and mission,” Baron said. “He sees stories that others miss and that connect to the concerns of ordinary people. He’s rightfully proud of hiring some of our finest talent.”