David Leonhardt Named NYT Washington Bureau Chief

As predicted, economics columnist David Leonhardt is the new Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, taking over for Dean Baquet, who's moved up in the world. The announcement memo, which just went out, is below.

To the Staff:

We are more than pleased to announce that David Leonhardt, one of our finest writers and most elegant thinkers, will be the next Washington bureau chief of The New York Times.

David's strengths as a reporter, columnist and magazine writer are dazzling. His keen understanding of how Washington works and the nexus of politics and economic policy make him a perfect leader of the Washington bureau at this moment. His creativity is matched by his collegiality. His original take on key issues has strengthened our news report in deep and important ways.

He is also more than a little webbified, playing a main role both in starting the Economix blog, and a bit more recently, in working with a great interdepartmental crew to craft the "deficit puzzle" that remains among the most discussed features that we've done this past year.

When David was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary this year, the board pointed to his "graceful penetration of America's complicated economic questions, from the federal budget deficit to health care reform." He is also, in the words of one colleague, "endlessly inquisitive" —- the most important trait of a good editor.

David is a native New Yorker. Before coming to The Times in September 1999, David worked on the metro staff of The Washington Post and for Business Week. He started on the business staff of The Times, writing about the economy and its effects on ordinary Americans. He added a Bizday column to his portfolio in 2006, and in September 2008 he took his column to Washington.

David's appointment takes effect after Labor Day, when Dean moves to his new post in New York.

This is as good a moment as any to say something about the two editors who —— perhaps more than anyone else —- have helped the make today's bureau the most dominant in Washington, through its coverage of politics and the Obama White House, and national security, intelligence, diplomacy and terrorism.

Dick Stevenson is one of the finest editors and leaders at The Times. He runs a political operation that is our first great success in integrating the Web and the print operations. He has been the go-to person on the budget and the political struggles that have come to dominate Washington. Simply put, he is a remarkable journalist whose knowledge of economics, politics, and Washington is unsurpassed.

Rebecca Corbett is a knockout enterprise editor who meets the major standard for a great editor —- everything she touches gets better. Under her guidance, the bureau's enterprise work has been ratcheted steadily upward. She has been a primary editor on the N.S.A. wiretapping story, Wikileaks, and the paper's political profiles.

Obviously there will be much to say in the coming days and weeks, including the shape of David's desk. But let's take a minute to toast his appointment, and the achievements of a bureau that continues to dominate Washington

Jill, Dean and John

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