Jan 27, 2021 - Economy

Wanted: New media bosses, everywhere

Illustration of a hand holding up a flag made out of newspaper

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, HuffPost and Wired are all looking for new editors. Soon, The New York Times will be too.

Why it matters: The new hires will reflect a new generation — one that's addicted to technology, demands accountability and expects diversity to be a priority.

Driving the news: The Washington Post’s widely-respected Executive Editor Marty Baron announced Tuesday he would be retiring at the end of the month, following a monumental nine-year run at the Post, and 45 years in journalism.

  • Sources tell Axios that The Post has eyed both internal and external candidates, including Steven Ginsberg (the Post's national editor during the Trump administration), former Post managing editor Kevin Merida (now at ESPN) and National Geographic Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg (who helped lead that newsroom's successful digital transformation).
  • Since it's owned by Jeff Bezos, the Post will serve as a litmus test for how much traditional newsrooms might think outside of the box for these types of roles.

Be smart: This trend extends beyond print. TV newsrooms are also facing a reckoning.

  • NBC News just tapped Telemundo veteran Cesar Conde to lead MSNBC, CNBC and NBC News. MSNBC vet Rashida Jones will be the first woman of color to lead a major cable news company when she becomes president of MSNBC in February. Susan Zirinsky became the first female president of CBS News in 2019. Suzanne Scott was named Fox News' first female CEO in 2018.
  • What to watch: The next big TV newsroom shakeup is expected at CNN, where the network's boss Jeff Zucker is reportedly eyeing an exit.

The big picture: Trust in traditional media is at an all-time low in America. At the same time, the news business — including big institutions — are struggling to survive the pandemic.

  • The new editors chosen to lead these newsrooms must be willing to approach journalism in a new way. Candidates that would've been considered overly qualified years ago might no longer be equipped to lead a modern newsroom.
  • Candidates, particularly women and minorities, as well as technologists, that were for years overlooked for these types of roles, may now be more appealing.

The bottom line: Change is coming to America's biggest newsrooms.

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