Washington Post hires Marcus Brauchli

The New York Times reports that Marcus W Brauchli, a former top editor of The Wall Street Journal, will become the executive editor of The Washington Post on September 8. It was somewhat surprising apparently.

In a statement, Ms. Weymouth (the publisher) said that Mr. Brauchli’s experience at The Journal would “help us navigate the new world of media.”

Her decision to pass over candidates within The Post and hire Mr. Brauchli comes shortly into a tenure that has already made clear that she intends to shake up the venerable but financially troubled paper. She is in the fourth generation of her family to head the paper that her great-grandfather, Eugene I. Meyer, bought in 1933, and is considered the likely successor to her uncle, Donald E. Graham, 63, as chairman and chief executive of the Post Company, which also owns Newsweek magazine and the Kaplan educational business.

But her choice of Mr. Brauchli is a surprising one at a paper best known for its political coverage and inside-the-Beltway savvy. Some editors and reporters at The Post say that changing the leadership in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign is an unorthodox and potentially disruptive move.

Mr. Brauchli has little experience in Washington, but at The Journal he helped oversee coverage of presidential campaigns and served as a foreign correspondent. Former colleagues say he has no trouble adapting to new territory.

And the challenges are real:

Since 2000, the paper’s weekday circulation has declined to 673,000, from about 800,000, but is still the seventh-highest among American newspapers. Its Web site draws more than nine million unique visitors monthly, according to Nielsen Online, making it the third-highest for a newspaper Web site.

And…

But those who have discussed the succession with her said that Ms. Weymouth recognized her lack of news experience and wisely sought the advice of a wide range of people.

“It was pretty un-Graham-like to be so public, but it was what she needed to do,” said one of the contenders who lost out to Mr. Brauchli. “She sees that the industry’s in crisis.”

An interesting move by Weymouth.