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Washington Put up insiders fear paper ‘misplaced at sea’ as high-profile exits, monetary complications mount

The Washington Put up, a once-thriving newspaper recognized for taking down presidents and exposing authorities corruption, is now in a “rut,” as one former worker put it.

Fox Information Digital spoke with 5 present and former Put up staff, many echoing an identical theme that The Put up took a flip for the more severe when its govt editor Marty Baron stepped down in February 2021 and his successor Sally Buzbee took over that June. 

It was reported final 12 months that the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” paper was “on place to lose cash” in 2022. And turmoil erupted at an worker city corridor in December when writer Fred Ryan introduced there could be layoffs within the first quarter of 2023 with out providing particulars as to who could be affected. Whereas many had been relieved it wasn’t worse – the paper minimize 20 jobs in January somewhat than the lots of initially feared – the management’s dealing with of the scenario disillusioned rank-and-file staffers.

The Put up, like many media firms, has had its monetary ups and downs through the years, however what’s unprecedented is the exodus that has taken place amongst each executives and journalists over the previous 12 months. 

It was introduced earlier this week that The Put up’s chief income officer Pleasure Robins was becoming a member of competitor The New York Occasions as its world chief promoting officer. 

Robins is the newest of a number of C-suite executives to have lately parted methods with The Put up together with chief data officer Shailesh Prakash, chief product officer Kat Downs Mulder, communications chief Kristine Coratti Kelly, communications VP Shani George and viewers improvement chief Beth Diaz.


The floodgates have additionally opened amongst its star expertise. The Put up misplaced reporters David Fahrenthold, Eli Saslow, Dave Weigel, Karoun Demirjian, Paul Sonne, Robert Samuels and Max Bearak, media columnist Margaret Sullivan, veteran editors Tracy Grant and Steven Ginsberg, and guide critic Carlos Lozada. 

Moreover, Put up columnist Jonathan Capehart stepped down from the paper’s editorial aboard in February over an obvious discrepancy he had with a printed piece, leaving the board with none members of coloration (Capehart stays with the paper as a author and host of a weekly podcast).

The Washington Post implemented a round of layoffs earlier this year after it was reportedly "on pace to lose money" in 2022.

The Washington Put up carried out a spherical of layoffs earlier this 12 months after it was reportedly “on tempo to lose cash” in 2022. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP through Getty Pictures)

One former Put up staffer stated it felt “chaotic” within the newsroom when it turned recognized that “individuals had been being headhunted by The Occasions.” Fahrenthold, Saslow, Lozada, Demirjian, Sonne and Bearak had been amongst those that have joined the New York Occasions, along with Robins.

“Individuals who would say no to The Occasions earlier than aren’t saying no now,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital.

One present staffer stated The Put up “feels misplaced at sea.” 

For many who have spent a number of years and even a long time at The Put up, being a “Postie” was a part of their id, with one former worker telling Fox Information Digital, “There isn’t anyone who has left The Put up who 12, 15, 18 months in the past may have foreseen that for themselves.”

“I believed my profession would finish at The Washington Put up… however there’s life after the Washington Put up,” they stated. 

The ex-staffer stated they heard from former newsroom colleagues who informed them seeing Saslow’s function debut on the entrance web page of The Occasions this week “felt like a intestine punch to individuals.”

“He was like Prince or Cher. He was simply Eli,” they stated. “To lose that, I feel Sally and Fred aren’t nuanced sufficient to know that anyone like Eli Saslow, Steven Ginsburg who suppose in methods which are distinctive, who see issues uniquely are definitively value it even in the event you can’t quantify it. Eli would write three tales a 12 months, is there a enterprise mannequin that’d make sense? No. However individuals will go to their graves speaking about his items. They are saying [something] about who we’re as a corporation. And the worth in that’s one thing that [former Post owner and publisher] Don Graham had, nevertheless it’s been misplaced.”

The subsequent exit?

Two sources informed Fox Information Digital there are rumors swirling that Cameron Barr, The Put up’s senior managing editor, might be subsequent to move in the direction of the exit, doubtlessly by the tip of summer season. 

Barr, who joined The Put up in 2004, was among the many finalists thought-about to be Baron’s successor. Ginsburg, a fellow managing editor who started working for the paper again in 1994, was additionally a severe candidate. Finally, each had been handed over as Ryan selected Buzbee, an outsider who on the time was the chief editor of The Related Press. Ginsburg left The Put up in late 2022 to turn out to be the chief editor of The Athletic, which the Occasions purchased final 12 months.


One former Put up staffer informed Fox Information Digital that Baron was a “was an entire machine” and a “driving drive” for the paper. 

“I do not know if there’s any individuals at The Put up who’s a driving drive,” they stated. 

The ex-Postie stated the paper wants a “massive image chief,” suggesting Barr may have served that position.

One other former colleague of Barr’s stated he is not essentially a “beloved determine” within the newsroom, however he’s actually a “revered” one. And if he left The Put up, there could be “completely no one to run the journalism.” 

Barr didn’t reply to Fox Information’ request for remark.

Washington Post senior managing editor Cameron Barr is rumored to be leaving the paper later this year, sources tell Fox News Digital.

Washington Put up senior managing editor Cameron Barr is rumored to be leaving the paper later this 12 months, sources inform Fox Information Digital. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Put up through Getty Pictures)

Abandoning Operation Skyfall

The Put up’s weak enterprise mannequin was a sore topic amongst former staff. One knocked the paper for not having “foresight within the new media,” pointing to The Occasions’ acquisition of the viral puzzle sport Wordle for instance of innovation from the competitor, telling Fox Information Digital, “The Occasions is sweet at that, The Put up is just not.”

“The Put up put so much chips in the most effective Trump protection, and it was not making the most effective selections like The Occasions,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital. “The competitor stayed on prime for a bunch of issues and The Put up stayed on prime of politics solely.”

The second ex-staffer recalled the summer season of 2016 when it was extensively assumed within the newsroom that Donald Trump would lose the presidential election towards Hillary Clinton and that The Put up’s site visitors, which had reached “file heights” on the time, would disappear as soon as “boring” Clinton assumed the presidency. 


Nonetheless, The Put up’s then-digital managing editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz (who in 2020 joined the San Francisco Chronicle as its editor in chief) supplied a “roadmap” for the paper to proceed thriving in what they thought could be an early finish to the Trump period. 

Garcia-Ruiz’s enterprise proposal, dubbed “Operation Skyfall” (impressed by the 2012 James Bond movie), aimed to take care of the viewers that sought political protection and “convert them” by serving different wants which concerned increasing The Put up’s portfolio to incorporate protection of meals, wellness, tradition and books. 

“After which Trump received,” the ex-staffer stated.

Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan is being criticized by former staffers for failing to implement a strong business model in the post-Trump era. 

Washington Put up writer Fred Ryan is being criticized by former staffers for failing to implement a powerful enterprise mannequin within the post-Trump period.  (Mark Wilson/Getty Pictures)

The Put up alum was aggrieved that the paper’s enterprise management “knew that we had been poor of protection in different points” and that it was a “enterprise determination” to not develop protection between 2016 and 2020.

“Fred solely cared about politics. He solely cared concerning the reporters he noticed on MSNBC,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital. “And so when Trump misplaced, and also you get previous Jan. 6, and also you get right into a Joe Biden presidency, there was a roadmap developed in 2016 that will have handled the equal of a Joe Biden presidency that got here from the newsroom.”

“I feel we’re all conscious of the challenges we face to construct our subscription base again… Most of us are busy masking the information and doing our jobs, however there’s a query nonetheless lingering above all of us: What does the large boss suppose?” one present Put up insider questioned. “To this point, he’s given zero indication of his pondering. Appears to not be on his thoughts. I suppose that implies there’s no crises, or not less than no have to take rapid motion.”

‘There have been some missteps’

Earlier than The Put up’s present stoop, there was what one former staffer known as the “revitalization” of the paper. It concerned Baron “managing the hell out of decline” and “energizing” the newsroom when he turned govt editor in 2012. Later got here main funding from billionaire Jeff Bezos, who had purchased the paper in 2013. 

The previous staffer stated even supposing Baron was “not a simple particular person to work for,” he directed The Put up “true north.”

However then Buzbee took over. 

“There have been some missteps,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital. 

The Put up alum blamed Ryan and firm for not making ready Buzbee sufficient, saying “management didn’t transient her” within the first days of her tenure. 

“I can think about a world the place Fred thought ‘this might be a stroll within the park for her’ because the AP had a much bigger newsroom. I didn’t suppose anybody within the newsroom ever misplaced sleep being beat by the AP, the identical can’t be stated about The New York Occasions,” they quipped. 

Under its executive editor Sally Buzbee, The Washington Post has lost several significant newsroom figures to its direct competitor, The New York Times.

Underneath its govt editor Sally Buzbee, The Washington Put up has misplaced a number of vital newsroom figures to its direct competitor, The New York Occasions. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Put up through Getty Pictures)

The previous worker acknowledged the uphill battle Buzbee had coming into The Put up in June 2021, which was in the midst of the pandemic and far of the employees was working remotely on the time. However she nonetheless rubbed individuals the mistaken approach.

“It was not clear that she had learn something in The Washington Put up… It was surprisingly unjournalistic,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital. “Marty learn every little thing.”

The ex-staffer recalled Baron presiding over the newsroom’s story conferences twice a day, however that Buzbee was “frequently” late or would “ghost” these conferences. 

“Individuals wished to impress her, and she or he would say she could be attending a gathering with political employees… Individuals had been prepared to provide her the advantage of the doubt, however you’ll be able to’t be late to the story convention. It’s seen as an indication of disrespect,” the ex-staffer stated. “It looks as if a small factor, nevertheless it turned emblematic of different issues… She was explicitly informed a number of occasions you’ll be able to’t not present up… I’m not saying she wasn’t working, or she wasn’t doing 12-hour days, however to the extent she didn’t get the tradition [of The Post newsroom].”


Buzbee’s problem to guide the newsroom was placed on full show in June when Put up reporter Felicia Sonmez lashed out on the paper’s tradition and her personal colleagues on social media. Sonmez was later fired for insubordination The Put up up to date its social media insurance policies.

Maybe Buzbee’s most high-profile recruit to date was Taylor Lorenz, who made a reputation for herself because the controversial know-how reporter at The Occasions. Her tearful look on MSNBC about cyberbullying and her outspoken left-wing social media presence have made her a distraction at occasions. 

“Taylor Lorenz was anyone we by no means ought to have employed,” the ex-staffer stated with out hesitation. “I used to be informed by colleagues who labored at The New York Occasions who stated champagne corks had been popping when it was introduced The Put up employed her.”

They continued, “There are individuals who you recognize are going to remain in and perceive there’s the facility within the group in addition to energy within the particular person and Taylor was a kind of individuals who was solely about Taylor. And it was an unlucky and completely foreseeable end result.”

One former Washington Post staffer told Fox News Digital the paper "never should have hired" controversial tech columnist Taylor Lorenz.

One former Washington Put up staffer informed Fox Information Digital the paper “by no means ought to have employed” controversial tech columnist Taylor Lorenz. (Screenshot/MSNBC)

Lorenz, recognized by her critics for her prolific tweeting and her reporting that doxxed fashionable Twitter persona Libs of TikTok, was engulfed in an argument final 12 months concerning a column that had an inaccurate declare, prompting a number of corrections by the paper. Lorenz took to Twitter and blamed her editor for allegedly together with the error with out her data.

The incident led Buzbee to rescind a promotion to then-deputy options editor David Malitz, who was well-liked amongst colleagues. 

That call, one insider informed Fox Information Digital, was a mirrored image of Buzbee “not figuring out the room.”

“She misplaced a complete division when she rescinded that job supply,” the insider stated. 


In the meantime, Bezos has largely been absent from the newsroom in recent times, making a “uncommon” look this previous January simply earlier than layoffs had been carried out. 

“The newsroom all the time thought he was extra concerned than Jeff truly was,” the ex-staffer informed Fox Information Digital. “He was very pleased with The Put up. He was pleased with proudly owning The Put up. However he purchased it for $250 million, for him it’s the equal of me discovering cash in my couch.” 

The ex-employee, nonetheless well-connected with former colleagues on the paper, stated Bezos was “very shocked” at how “trustworthy” The Put up employees was throughout his current go to. 

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of The Washington Post, has largely been absent from the newsroom as some of the paper's most valued journalists continue fleeing. 

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire proprietor of The Washington Put up, has largely been absent from the newsroom as among the paper’s most valued journalists proceed fleeing.  (AP)

The alum stated Bezo must shake up the management at The Put up. 

“Jeff ought to inform Fred that it’s time to retire,” they informed Fox Information Digital. “Jeff informed [former Post publisher] Katharine Weymouth that she was fired after one 12 months of proudly owning The Put up. And he informed her he discovered her successor. He has completed that previously, and he wants to try this once more as a result of you should have a brand new writer are available in and assess whether or not Sally is the right govt editor for The Washington Put up.”

Bezos handpicked Ryan to be writer of The Put up in 2014. 


Not one of the former staffers who spoke with Fox Information Digital appear to have any ailing will in the direction of The Put up. Certainly one of them stated their “loyalty” was all the time with the paper no matter who was main the masthead. 

“I want nothing however the most effective for The Washington Put up. The world wants establishments like The Put up. Nothing would make me happier than Sally turning it round or Fred discovering faith. No matter it takes,” they stated. 

A spokesperson for The Put up informed Fox Information Digital, “The Washington Put up continues to function at its highest ranges in serving our readers with world-class journalism and increasing our attain to native, nationwide and worldwide audiences.”

Fox Information’ David Rutz contributed to this report. 

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