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Sally Buzbee Rises to the Top of Journalism as the Washington Post Executive Editor

The newspaper that was once led by the inimitable Katharine Graham now has a woman heading the newsroom, the first in its 144-year history.

Women our age have long held a legitimate beef about the way women our age have been portrayed in the media. Now, we get a woman our age running one of the most important newspapers in the world. It’s time for celebration and hope–hope that we’ll be less invisible in the culture, that our contributions will get the recognition they deserve.

Sally Buzbee, 55, has just been named to the highest editorial position at the Washington Post, after three decades at the Associated Press. Succeeding the widely acclaimed editor Martin Baron, she becomes the first female editor of the Post in its 144-year history.

In a memo to employees on Tuesday, Post publisher Frederick J. Ryan wrote that “we looked for someone steeped in the courageous journalism that is The Post’s hallmark, and who can extend our reach to news audiences in the U.S. and abroad. We sought a bold leader who can manage our dynamic newsroom and bureaus across the globe … We looked carefully for someone who shares our values of diversity and inclusion, and who is committed to prioritizing them in our news coverage as well as our hiring and promotion. ”

Buzbee was chosen for this highly sought-after position from an impressive pool of candidates. According to Ryan, she was a “runaway unanimous” choice for himself and Jeff Bezos, who owns the Post.

Acknowledging the “huge honor,” Buzbee said, ““Every day when I work, I am conscious of the women who came before me in this profession that we love so much and who broke down so many barriers. And I am grateful to them pretty much every day of my life, because I know that it took work and guts, and I really do feel that they paved the way for things that are happening now.”

Read More: The Founding Mothers of NPR: 4 Extraordinary Women Who Transformed the News

Reporting Chops

Buzbee got her start as an AP reporter in Kansas. She was also a reporter in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington. Along the way, she led the organization’s coverage of the Iraq war and other regional conflicts as its Middle East regional editor, based in Cairo. As Washington bureau chief, she oversaw The AP’s coverage of the 2012 and 2016 elections.

Along the way, she earned her MBA from Georgetown University. Since 2017, she was the executive editor and senior vice president of AP.

Buzbee is following in the legendary footsteps of another accomplished woman, Katherine Graham, the first female publisher of the paper, and of the larger-than-life executive editor from the Watergate years, Ben Bradlee.

At the AP, Buzbee focused on “diversity and inclusion,” she said. “Everybody brings their own background and experiences to journalism, and that enriches journalism,” she said in the interview. We will follow her career with great interest and cheer her on as she brings more inclusion for women our age, in addition to all the other groups who deserve it.

Read More: Susan Zirinsky Is the First Female President of CBS News—But Getting There Wasn’t Easy

By NextTribe Editors


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