'Washington Post' publisher tried to kill a story about allegations against him. It wasn’t the first time.

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2024-06-06 17:30:04

The Washington Post has written twice this spring about allegations that have cropped up in British court proceedings involving its new publisher and CEO, Will Lewis. In both instances Lewis pushed his newsroom chief hard not to run the story.

According to several people at the newspaper, then-Executive Editor Sally Buzbee emerged rattled from both discussions in March and in May. Lewis’ efforts were first reported by the New York Times. The second Post article in May, which was thorough and detailed, ran just days before Lewis announced his priorities for the paper, which is financially troubled.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Lewis denied the publisher had pressured his editor, saying, "That is not true. That is not what happened."

Buzbee did not recuse herself from the stories, which were overseen by Managing Editor Matea Gold, and drew upon reporters from three desks. Lewis did not block the story from running. He unexpectedly announced Buzbee’s departure on Sunday night, about three-and-a-half weeks after the longer story ran, along with a restructuring of the newsroom’s leadership structure.

It is not the first time that Lewis has engaged in intense efforts to head off coverage about him in ways that many U.S. journalists would consider deeply inappropriate.

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