Krissah Thompson named The Washington Post’s first managing editor for diversity and inclusion
The Washington Post has named Krissah Thompson, a veteran editor and reporter with nearly 20 years of experience at the organization, as its first managing editor for diversity and inclusion, a new senior position created as a result of a broad reckoning among news organizations in the wake of nationwide protests over racial inequities.
Thompson, 41, will be responsible for leading the newsroom’s efforts in the recruitment, hiring, promotion and mentoring of staff members, with an eye toward expanding the newsroom’s diversity.
Currently an editor in The Post’s Style section, she will join the news organization’s masthead as one of four deputies to executive editor Martin Baron. She is the first African American woman to become a managing editor in the newspaper’s 143-year history.
Her promotion follows an intensified focus within newsrooms, including The Post’s, on matters relating to race after the mass demonstrations that began in late May following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
The Post announced last month that it will dedicate more than a dozen journalists to expand its coverage of race and related issues. In addition to the new managing editor position, the organization introduced new positions for reporters specializing in covering race as it relates to criminal justice, the environment, health and national security.
“A diverse staff makes our reporting better,” Thompson said in an interview Monday. “We’re better when we have more perspectives and we can cover communities as deeply and widely as possible.”
The Post, she said, has “done better than most” in diversifying its staff and reflecting that diversity in its news coverage, “but we’re not where we should be and where we’d like to be.”
Her goal, she said, is for the newsroom “to look like America and the communities we cover.”
Even after decades of recruitment efforts, non-Hispanic whites make up 77 percent of newsroom employees in newspapers, broadcasting and Internet publishing, according to a 2018 analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center.
The Post said last year that 71 percent of its newsroom staff is white, including 79 percent of top managers.
In a staff announcement, Baron said Thompson will be in charge of ensuring “significant, consistent progress on diversity and inclusiveness in everything we do” as well as “improved recruitment, retention and career advancement for journalists of color.”
He added, “Krissah’s vision is to have The Post become the most diverse and inclusive newsroom in the country — a place that is recognized for fostering talent, where all people feel supported and challenged, and where our journalism fully benefits from the perspectives of staffers who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences.”AD
Baron said in an interview that “the events of the past few months have brought into particularly sharp focus the need to make major strides in our coverage of diverse communities and to enhance the career opportunities” for minority journalists.
Thompson, who holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland, began as a summer reporting intern at The Post in 2001. She has spent her entire professional career as a reporter and editor at the news organization.
She has reported for the Financial, National Politics and Style desks, the latter for which she covered first lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama’s second term. Among other assignments, she was The Post’s acting bureau chief in Ferguson, Mo., after protests and violence in the wake of teenager Michael Brown’s death in a police shooting in 2014.
For the past three years, she has been an assignment editor in Style, leading the section’s coverage of politics, media and other topics.