Washington Post national editor Cameron Barr, a widely traveled and broadly experienced journalist, was named a managing editor of the newspaper on Wednesday by executive editor Martin Baron.
Barr, 51, will start in his new position next week. He replaces Kevin Merida, who left The Post in October for a new position at ESPN.
Since joining The Post in 2004, Barr has been a Metro reporter, a national-security editor, a foreign news editor, a blogger and the national editor. In the latter position for nearly the past three years, he has overseen some of the paper’s most important and highest profile work, including the presidential campaign and its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Secret Service and National Security Agency.
As a managing editor, Barr will supervise all of The Post’s news and features sections. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz is the newsroom’s other managing editor, overseeing digital operations and video.
Barr said the managing editor’s position is “primarily a doer’s job. It’s about getting the news covered and the enterprise reporting done.”
He added, “The direction of [The Post] is pretty clear. We want to be America’s publication of record. Our ambition is to be the pre-eminent news organization in the U.S. and I think we have the talent and resources to get there. . . . I don’t think there’s a finer room in all of American journalism.”
In a staff memo announcing Barr’s appointment, Baron called Barr “a driven, focused, and super-smart journalist. . . . Cameron has directed coverage of some of our biggest and most challenging stories, always with intelligence and a deep reservoir of energy.”
The son of a foreign service officer, Barr grew up hoping to become a foreign correspondent. He said his early passion for journalism was stoked by a mentorship under Clay Felker, the legendary magazine editor who shepherded some of the most famous pieces of New Journalism in the 1960s and ’70s.
Before coming to The Post, Barr worked for almost 15 years at the Christian Science Monitor, primarily as a foreign correspondent based in Tokyo and then in Jerusalem, where he covered the second intifada and the start of the Iraq war. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for his reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He was also a staff reporter for the American Lawyer from 1988 to 1990, writing stories that included a behind-the-scenes account of Union Carbide’s settlement of claims stemming from the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India, that killed more than 3,500 people. He was a co-winner of a National Magazine award for his reporting at the American Lawyer.
“Cameron is one of the most rigorous editors I’ve ever worked with,” said Anne Kornblut, who served as Barr’s deputy national editor before joining Facebook as director of strategic communications in September. “He’s also a compassionate and dedicated manager — and a treat to work for. He brings so much to the role of managing editor. The newsroom is lucky.”
Barr, who lives in Washington, is a graduate of Brown University.