As noted by John Taylor below, Marcus Brauchli, a 25-year veteran of the Wall Street Journal, who was its managing editor from April 18, 2007, until resigning just over a year later following Rupert Murdoch’s takeover, has been named the executive editor of the Washington Post, replacing Leonard Downie Jr. Brauchli is only the third person to hold that job at the Post since Ben Bradlee was appointed in 1968, and he is one of the rather rare high-level Post appointees to have spent a career working outside the paper.
Brauchli’s background is interesting, in terms of what it may portend for the Post’s future. The greater part of his career at the Journal was spent as a foreign correspondent, based in Hong Kong, Scandinavia and Tokyo successively. In an era when many American newspapers which prided themselves on foreign coverage, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Baltimore Sun, have cut back drastically on overseas staff, the Post has continued to maintain a strong international presence, and Brauchli’s appointment seems to suggest this will continue.
Another area in which Brauchli was prominent in recent years, as news editor and managing editor, was in the redesign of the Journal to a smaller page size and a more compact layout, to save printing costs. Despite some cosmetic changes here and there in the last decade, today’s Post is not very different, in layout or page size or number of pages, from the Post of 1982. The Washington Times recently did a radical redesign (cutting down on the number of pages and shortening the average length of the articles) and it could be that Brauchli, in the coming months, will be steering the paper toward changes of this kind.
Here’s the Post’s account of his hiring, with a video clip. If the paper’s publisher Katharine Weymouth somehow reminds readers of Tina Weymouth, formerly of the Talking Heads and occasionally of the Tom Tom Club (which made one of my wife’s alltime favorite records, “Genius Of Love”), that’s only natural because she’s Tina’s niece.