Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School, was executive editor of The Washington Post from 1991 to 2008. During his 44 years in the Post newsroom, he was also an investigative reporter, editor on the local and national news staffs, London correspondent, and, from 1984 to 1991, managing editor under then-executive editor Ben Bradlee. As deputy metro editor from 1972 to 1974, Downie helped supervise the Post’s Watergate coverage. He also oversaw the newspaper’s coverage of every national election from 1984 through 2008. During his 17 years as executive editor, The Washington Post won 25 Pulitzer prizes.
He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, from The Ohio State University.
Downie is the author of seven books, including The New Muckrakers, about investigative reporting; The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril (with Robert G. Kaiser); The News Media: What Everyone Needs to Know (with C. W. Anderson and Michael Schudson); All About the Story: News, Power, Politics and The WashingtonPost, a memoir; and The Rules of the Game, a novel about journalism and politics in Washington.
He is also the author of two Committee to Protect Journalism special reports, The Obama Administration and the Press and The Trump Administration and the Media, and a report, The Reconstruction of American Journalism (with Michael Schudson), published by The Journalism School of Columbia University.
Downie is a founder and former board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News.
He lives and teaches from Washington, DC.
Downie holds bachelor's and Master's degrees in journalism and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from The Ohio State University.