Washington Post appoints first black female managing editor in 143-year history


KRISSAH THOMPSON has become the first black woman to be appointed as a managing editor in The Washington Post’s 143-year history.

Thompson, who has spent two decades working in The Washington Post newsroom, entering the publication as an intern, will become the publication’s managing editor for diversity and inclusion.

She will join the masthead as one of four deputies to the executive editor Marty Baron.

Announcing the news, Baron, said: “Krissah will be in charge of ensuring significant, consistent progress on diversity and inclusiveness in everything we do – our coverage of race, ethnicity and identity as well as improved recruitment, retention and career advancement for journalists of color.”

Thompson’s role will also include providing oversight of stories about diverse communities.

Barton added that Thompson’s vision is to have The Post become “the most diverse and inclusive newsroom in the country.”

Figures released from The Post last year revealed that 71 per cent of the publication’s newsroom was white.

Prior to her appointment of managing editor, Thompson was the politics assignment editor in The Washington Post’s Style section for three years and a Style writer for five.

While her historic appointment has been widely welcomed, some have expressed disappointment about her remit – reflecting a concern of many black journalists about how publications can box them in to being responsible for solely being responsible for issues relating to race.

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones tweeted: “I am proud of this sister and I know she will be a force, but it’s also a bit of a gut punch that the first Black woman managing editor in the ⁦@washingtonpost⁩ 143-year history is managing editor of diversity and inclusion.”

The naming of Thompson as The Post’s first black female managing editor comes at a time when newsrooms internationally are reviewing their coverage of race issues and the racial diversity within their organisations.

The Post has also announced that, as of yesterday, it will use uppercase b in black, when referring to individuals and groups who are part of the African diaspora. It will also capitalise the w in white.