Editors' Note: Daniel Strauss is a summer 2008 Prospect editorial intern.
Leonard Downie Jr., the longest serving executive editor of The Washington Post, announced today that he will step down Sept. 8. His announcement ends longtime speculation that the recently named Publisher Katharine Weymouth wanted to install her own editor as part of her time as the head of Washington's flagship newspaper. Word on the street (the media gossip street that is) is that Jonathan Landman, digital editor of The New York Times and Marcus Brauchli, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, are in the lead to become the next editor. Whoever the next editor is, he or she will be only the third editor of the Post since the 60s.
Downie's retirement signals Weymouth's interest in having an executive editor more familiar with the panicked digital age of journalism, where newspapers are frantically trying to attract as many readers as they used to to print to the newspaper's websites. Landman sounds like a perfect fit supposedly and the Post's website could be better. Still, under Downie, the Post has added some interesting content like The Fix and PostGlobal.
Under Downie, The Post has earned 25 Pulitzers. Becoming executive editor of the Post after Downie is a tough act to follow for nearly anyone.