By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: David Maraniss

Washington Post update: Winnett withdraws while Lewis hangs on — for now

Robert Winnett (via LinkedIn)

Robert Winnett will not be joining The Washington Post as executive editor this fall. The announcement (free link) was made by publisher Will Lewis, who is still at his job even though Winnett pulled out after his and Lewis’ gross breaches of journalistic ethics in the U.K. were revealed by several news outlets, including the Post itself.

I continue to believe Lewis isn’t long for his position, either. Two Pulitzer Prize-winning Post journalists, David Maraniss and Scott Higham, have called on Lewis to leave, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more in a few days.

Under Lewis’ absurd scheme for reorganizing the newsroom, the current interim executive editor, Matt Murray, who was brought in when Sally Buzbee quit rather than accept a demotion, is supposed to move over to run a “third newsroom” this fall that will comprise social media and, well, stuff, none of which Lewis has clearly defined. Murray, in turn, would be replaced by Winnett.

Instead, Winnett will remain as deputy editor of the Telegraph Media Group in the U.K. Murray, who had been editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, has made a good first impression, according to Poynter’s Tom Jones and other accounts I’ve seen, so perhaps he’ll remain as executive editor. But owner Jeff Bezos needs to do something soon — like maybe today — about the Lewis disaster.

Earlier coverage.

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Drip, drip, drip

Three new data points in the ongoing implosion of Washington Post publisher Will Lewis:

• While working for then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Lewis reportedly urged Johnson and other senior officials to “clean up” their phones — that is, to remove photos and other incriminating information that could be used against them in an investigation into violations of COVID-19 lockdown rules. Spokespeople for Lewis and Johnson deny it (The Guardian).

• We’ve been waiting for a Post legend to weigh in. Neither Bob Woodward nor Marty Baron has been heard from yet, but Pulitzer Prize-winning associate editor David Maraniss has broken his silence. In a post on Facebook, Maraniss wrote: “I don’t know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and supposed new editor can stand. There might be a few, but very very few. Jeff Bezos owns the Post but he is not of and for the Post or he would understand. The issue is one of integrity not resistance to change.” The “new editor” is Robert Winnett, a longtime associate of Lewis’ who is supposed to become executive editor of the Post this fall (Facebook).

• Post owner Jeff Bezos has written a message to the newsroom assuring the staff that “the journalistic standards and ethics at The Post will not change” and offering his support for Lewis — “though not explicitly,” as CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy observes. It sounds like Bezos wants to buck up Lewis while leaving open the possibility that he’ll have to go. Frankly, that point was reached days ago (

Earlier coverage.

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