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It’s Official! Downie Stepping Down at WaPo

24post-inline1-190.jpgAfter the weeks of speculation that followed WaPo’s big buyout over whether longtime executive editor Len Downie would be leaving his top post, and who exactly might replace him, it’s official — Downie will step down effective September 8, 2008.

Just yesterday new publisher Katharine Weymouth was quoted telling AdAge that she was “in no hurry to rush Len out of here.” Despite this rumors about Downie’s imminent departure began swirling yesterday afternoon when Politico reported that a “big meeting” had been called at the WaPo offices — FishbowlDC was later able to put together a play-by-play.

Downie, 66, has been executive editor for 17 years (he took over from Ben Bradlee), and at the Washington Post for more than four decades. At the meeting yesterday he told the Post newsroom a “new, young publisher needs a new, younger editor.” Weymouth, who recently took over as publisher of the paper, called Downie “incontrovertibly one of the great editors of our time.” She has said she will name a replacement in the next few weeks. Rumored to be in the running are Philip Bennett, Marcus W. Brauchli, Jonathan Landman, Jon Meacham.

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