Earlier: “Downie: Gone?!?”
We asked some:
“I have no idea if the rumor is valid, but Jaffe’s analysis sounds about right , in that I think there would be a newspaper rebellion if any of the comedians mentioned got the nod. The only person who would I think might be welcomed…. is the much beloved Gene Robinson.”
“Yeah, there’s buzz, but frankly no one knows whether it’s rooted in any actual fact or event — or if it’s just cafeteria-table speculation that begins to sound like an actual rumor once it’s made a couple rounds through the echo chamber. Here’s my prediction: Len will retire before he turns 70, and Jaffe will then write a story saying ‘as I first reported…’”
One Postie hears that one possible plan (admittedly far-fetched) involves David Ignatius taking over for a brief time (remember, he was executive editor of the International Herald Tribune), until Emilio Garcia-Ruiz is ready to ascend from his AME/Sports gig. This Postie also hears that nobody is talking about Phil as Len’s successor and seconds the notion that the paper might outside for a new editor. UPDATE: This Postie also thinks Marilyn Thompson could be a dark horse Downie replacement.
“One can hold two thoughts that are not mutually inconsistent: That Len Downie is one of the great editors, and journalists, of his generation. And that it is time for the Washington Post to have a new executive editor. Everybody in the room, myself included, has immense respect for Len. But it may well be time to have an ultimate boss who understands more deeply that what determines the future of the Washington Post is not what stories appear on any given day’s front page, or whether the nut-graf and that killer quote make it in before the jump. Rather, it depends on the ability of the staff to generate content that draws readers online, especially readers who will spend a lot of time on the site.
“As for who might take over the job if Len does move on, I wouldn’t be nearly as dismissive as Jaffe is about Phil Bennett’s chances. Phil understands these challenges as well as anyone, and has been doing yeoman’s work trying to enact them. Other possibilities are Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the sports editor, who has been more successful than any other section editor at turning his reporters into multi-media machines. Liz Spayd is a possibility due to her time at, and understanding of, the web. And a dark horse could be David Ignatius, the columnist and former International Herald Tribune editor, for his strong strategic sense. Jaffe’s notion that Dean Baquet might be in the running is baloney. No way the Grahams would go outside the Post.”
“Definitely there’s been speculation but it’s hard to say how real it might be. I don’t think anyone thinks that he will be around 5 or even 10 years from now. But to take this buyout? Change is definitely coming, though. I hope it will work out for the best.
“I agree about the lack of potential candidates. Lots of people who could jockey for No. 2 but not a lot for No. 1. Internally, the most likely candidates would be Phil, Emilio and Susan Glasser.”
One tipster says:
It’s amazing to us at The Washington Post that Len Downie has not yet sent out an email to the staff addressing not one, but TWO stories discussig whether he will depart, and why he stonewalled the City Paper in an interview.
Of course, we simply noticed that Downie returned Erik Wemple’s call but not Jaffe’s. What up with that?
UPDATE: The same tipster says…
I hear that Emilio is not a contender for executive editor. David Ignatius is definitely on the list. Marilyn Thompson — who used to be the editor of a very good paper in Kentucky — would be a dream.