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Sandy Johnson Leaves AP

UPDATE: See some subsequent reporting by FishbowlDC here

FishbowlDC has learned that Washington bureau chief Sandy Johnson is stepping down from her position, effectively immediately. “It has been an honor to work with such an extraordinary group of journalists since I became bureau chief almost 10 years ago,” Johnson wrote in a staff memo, obtained by FishbowlDC. “We have covered stories for the history books — the resignation of a House Speaker, the Lewinsky scandal, the impeachment of Clinton, the presidential recount in 2000, the attacks on 9/11, the war with Iraq, this incredible presidential race — and thousands more. Washington is AP’s best asset and we see proof of that every single day. We’ve racked up 57 Beat of the Weeks and 242 honorable mentions. We’ve produced 10 Gramling winners during my watch. We are the kings of IMPACT stories, including a record-setting monthly pace of 8 in April. Our journalists have won scores of awards, including a Pulitzer for photography in 1999 for Lewinsky-Clinton coverage and a Pulitzer finalist in 2001 for the presidential call. No one person is responsible for these achievements — the Washington bureau is a sum of its parts. I will miss the adrenaline and comaraderie of this bureau.”

Talk about a prestigious job opening.

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