Last week the Washington Post announced for the first time in its 144-year history, a woman will lead its newsroom, a development that should be important to anyone who cares about what shows up in media.
We at FGH are admittedly biased in our enthusiasm of the Post’s pick of Sally Buzbee, with a couple of us having worked under her leadership at The Associated Press. Sally brings compassion, integrity and a combination of energy and calm that’s particularly beneficial in a newsroom. She is dogged in her pursuit of a good story with all the competition and speed that implies, but also is able to slow down, apply wisdom and thoughtfulness, care about her team and make the big considered decisions.
Sally’s pick, unexpected since she wasn’t talked about among watchers of the Post process, was the second recent and long-delayed victory for diversity in newsroom leadership. It came just after the Los Angeles Times named Kevin Merida, a Black man who formerly worked at the Post, as their top editor.
These are top jobs that traditionally not only were held by white men but included layers of white men underneath them making the decisions about what appeared in the news. Their hirings don’t change the embedded culture overnight, but are among those changes helping set new standards for diversity in leadership so the stories told in the media can hopefully one day more accurately reflect the public that is reading them.