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Updated Jun 21, 2024, 10:39am EDT
North America

Washington Post’s next editor withdraws from role

The Washington Post's new CEO Will Lewis
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty
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British journalist Robert Winnett, set to join The Washington Post as its next editor following the November US election, has withdrawn from the position, the outlet reported on Friday. Winnett will remain at the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

The announcement comes amid days of internal strife over Winnett’s alleged past practices as well as those of the new corporate chief, Will Lewis, responsible for his hiring.

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Several Post journalists told The New York Times on Friday that they were pleased Winnett would no longer be leading their newsroom: “Rat Boy is out!”, one wrote in a text message.

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Chris Evans, the editor of the Telegraph, said in a memo to staffers: “I’m pleased to report that Rob Winnett has decided to stay with us. As you all know, he’s a talented chap, and [The Washington Post’s] loss is our gain.”

The Post this week published an investigation into the practices of its then-incoming editor, alleging Winnett had enlisted the help of a trained actor and self-described “thief” to obtain confidential information for The Sunday Times in London. That followed a New York Times exposé Saturday, which reported that both Lewis and Winnett, who worked together at The Sunday Times, assigned a reporter to write a story that the reporter believed was based on hacked phone records. “[Lewis’] ambitions outran his ethics,” the reporter in question told the outlet. The British paper has repeatedly denied allegations of paying anyone to act illegally during the long-running British newspaper scandal of the noughties.

The pair have also been criticized for their role in covering the UK parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009: The Telegraph, which broke the story, paid £110,000 for a disk of stolen data. Paying for stories is a relatively common practice in British journalism but highly frowned upon across the Atlantic and a violation of the Post’s ethics codes.

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