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Bennett Out As M.E.

As expected, Phil Bennett is no longer the Washington Post’s managing editor.

An internal memo, obtained by FishbowlDC:

    To the Staff,

    Four years ago, Len asked me to become managing editor. It was an
    invitation to help create great journalism, and to guide the newsroom
    through our own story of change and renewal. The challenges and rewards
    of this incredible job were bigger than I could have imagined; so has
    been the honor of working with you. Now that the transition between Len
    and Marcus is complete, I’ve decided it’s the right moment for me to
    move on to new things. I will step down as managing editor at the end of
    the week.

    I came to the paper in 1997, one more convert from a Bill Hamilton
    sales pitch. Since then, my belief in The Post has been strengthened by
    every hour I’ve spent in this newsroom, and especially by the trials of
    the last few years. These are dark days in parts of the news business,
    but a brilliant time for journalism. This was never clearer for us than
    last year, when we won a record number of Pultizer Prizes and lost an
    unprecedented number of our colleagues to buyouts. We showed, despite
    everything, that with powerful journalism and a place to stand, you can
    still move the world.

    For me, the stories have always been our best measure. Dana and
    Anne inside Walter Reed; Finkel in Kosovo, then Yemen for his Pulitzer;
    Rajiv and Anthony during the invasion and occupation of Iraq; Wil
    Haygood composing an American storybook through lives like Eugene
    Allen’s, the White House butler; Bart Gellman and Jo Becker on Dick
    Cheney; the collective triumph of the Being A Black Man series, the
    coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre, the operatic richness of our
    2008 campaign coverage.

    Katharine and Marcus have shown their determination to confront
    our challenges by relying on the same principles of journalism
    excellence that made this paper a vital American institution. Everyone
    who cares about the future of our democracy has a stake in The Post’s
    continued success. As the eyes of the world turn to Washington again
    this month, and are fixed here for months to come, they will be looking
    to you for the story.

    I’m leaving some of my best friends here, and I will hopefully
    have a chance to thank many more of you in person. I want to recognize
    here my special debts to Karen DeYoung and Bill Hamilton for hiring me
    onto the national desk, to Bob McCartney and David Hoffman for being
    such wonderful partners during my five years as AME/Foreign, to my
    compadres and predecessors as managing editor Bob Kaiser and Steve Coll,
    to Bo Jones for his support and to Tom Wilkinson for his wise counsel.

    Working beside Len Downie was a privilege I won’t forget, and I am
    grateful for his trust, example and friendship. I’ve never met anyone
    whose love of daily journalism burns more brightly. When I started as a
    reporter in Lima, Peru the last thing I dreamed of was that someday I’d
    have a chance to do a job like this one. It’s been a blast. The wonder
    of it never wore off, even on the toughest days.

    Finally, I want to express my thanks to Don Graham for inspiring
    and defending this newsroom, and for his kindnesses to my family and me
    over the years. Don is a champion of quality journalism and journalists.
    He is also a leader in the search for ways to make sure that both
    continue to thrive. Next week, I’ll move to the 9th floor to work for
    Don on a project relating to the future of the news business. I will be
    writing, thinking about what’s next — and pulling for you.

    Thank you for all of it.


And from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli:

    To the Staff:

    I’d like to thank Phil Bennett for his extraordinary contributions to The Post newsroom and in particular for his assistance in helping to smooth the leadership transition over the last several months.

    Phil is a brilliant journalist, whose piercing intelligence and story genius have been among The Post’s great assets in recent years. He’s also successfully taken on some of our most difficult and complex organizational challenges, leading recent efforts to improve and in some cases streamline our news operations. While Phil and I have worked together only a short time, I will miss his deep knowledge of the newsroom and the company, his instinct for how we should approach the news, and his consistently sound judgment.

    I will be working on a new leadership structure that addresses the departures of both Phil and Jim Brady as quickly as possible.

    Please join me in thanking Phil for his exceptional service over the years and in wishing him the very best in his new assignment with Don and future endeavors in journalism.


We’re also hearing rumblings about a big national desk departure…developing…

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