NEW YORK – Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, who has led the resurgent newspaper as it nearly doubled its staff in eight years, said Tuesday that he will retire at the end of February.
One of the nation’s top journalism executives, Baron led the Post through a digital transformation and drove it through intense competition with the New York Times, another news organization that thrived through the Trump era.
Baron was the top editor at the Boston Globe and Miami Herald before taking over at the Post. Many outside journalism know him through actor Liev Schreiber’s portrayal in the 2015 movie “Spotlight” about the Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church.
It was one of many “epic” news stories during his 45 years in journalism that Baron recalled working on in a note sent to Post staff members Tuesday.
“The experience has been deeply meaningful, enriched by colleagues who made me a better professional and a better person,” he wrote. “At age 66, I feel ready to move on.”
His retirement wasn’t entirely a surprise, after he committed to colleagues two years ago to take the newspaper through another presidential inauguration.
The Post’s staff increased from 580 journalists to more than 1,000 during his tenure. Aggressive coverage of the Trump administration often led the former president to attack it and owner Jeff Bezos.
Baron would respond that “we’re not at war with the administration. We’re at work.”
“You leave behind a newsroom that is bigger and stronger and more thoughtful than ever,” Bezos posted on Instagram. “You led with integrity, always – even when it was exhausting (which it often was).”
Many who worked with him vouched for the accuracy of Schreiber’s depiction of a quiet, demanding and occasionally brittle boss.
Post correspondent Philip Rucker tweeted that it was “crushing news. Marty made us all smarter journalists and pushed us collectively to exciting new heights.”
He led the paper as it sought answers for the 2018 murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The Post had some growing pains, with Black journalists pushing for greater representation.
During his tenure, the paper has won 10 Pulitzer Prizes.The Post’s publisher and CEO, Fred Ryan, said Baron had “significantly expanded our coverage areas, inspired great reporting, managed an awesome digital transformation and grown the number of readers and subscribers to unprecedented levels.”
He promised a “broad and inclusive” search for Baron’s successor, considering both internal and external candidates.
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