Weeks before the Washington Post’s executive editor suddenly quit Resigned On Sunday, his relationship with the company’s chief executive became increasingly strained.

In mid-May, the two clashed over whether to publish an article about a British hacking scandal with Will Lewis, the Post’s chief executive, with some ties, according to two people briefed on their conversations. are familiar

The editor, Sally Busby, informed Mr. Lewis that the newsroom planned to cover a judge’s decision in a long-running British legal case against Prince Harry and others in some of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids, the people said. brought against

As part of the ruling, the judge was expected to decide whether the plaintiffs could add Mr. Lewis to a list of executives they say were involved in the plan to cover up evidence of the newspaper hacking. were involved. Mr. Lewis told Ms. Buzby that the case she was involved in was not worth covering, the people said.

When Ms. Busby said The Post would publish the article anyway, she said her decision showed a lapse in judgment and abruptly ended the conversation.

The conversation rattled Ms. Busby, who then consulted friends outside The Post about how she should handle the situation. when The judge delivered the verdict several days laterOn May 21, The Post reported that Mr. Lewis could be added to the case. An essay about the decision.

Mr. Lewis did not prevent the article from being published. But the incident continued to weigh on Ms. Busby even as she considered her future at the paper, according to two people familiar with her decision-making process. His final decision is to resign. shaken up One of the top news organizations in the country.

Discussing the court decision was not the main reason for his resignation. Ms. Buzbee was already thinking about her future at The Post because of Mr. Lewis’ plan to reorganize the newsroom he gave her in April, the people said. According to the people, Mr. Lewis offered Ms. Buzbee the job to run a new division focused on social media and service journalism. He considered it a demotion, since his job as executive editor included overseeing all aspects of news reporting.

A spokesman for The Post declined to comment. Ms Buzby also declined to comment.

Mr. Lewis was appointed by Jeff Bezos, The Post’s owner and founder of Amazon, late last year to rebuild the publication as it suffered a steep decline in audience and annual losses of tens of millions of dollars. For the past few months, Mr. Lewis, formerly chief executive of Dow Jones News Corp., which publishes the Wall Street Journal, has been strategizing to overhaul the business.

He decided to divide the editorial ranks into three sections: a core newsroom covering politics, business and other topics; an opinion section; and a new division that will focus on social media, such as video storytelling, as well as service journalism, including wellness and lifestyle coverage. (The post is currently divided into two sections, News and Opinion.)

In offering Ms. Buzbee a role in the social media and service journalism division, Mr. Lewis told her she could consider hiring an editor to oversee the cover news operation, according to people familiar with his thinking. He later tells her that he has chosen. Robert WinnettA Daily Telegraph editor who previously worked with Mr Lewis, the people said.

The conversation between Mr. Lewis and Ms. Buzby about the phone-hacking coverage took place in a conference room at an executive meeting outside The Post newsroom. At the meeting, Post executives discussed Mr. Lewis’ planned changes at The Post.

Editors sometimes alert higher-ups about scandalous stories before they are published. In 2013, Martin Barron, the longtime editor who preceded Ms. Buzbee, reported to The Post’s publisher, Kathryn Weymouth, before The Post began reporting on sensitive stories about the National Security Agency. In 1971, Ben Bradlee, a crusading managing editor, approached The Post’s former owner, Kathryn Graham, before the newspaper published articles about the Pentagon Papers, which revealed a secret history of the Vietnam War.

Mr. Lewis declined to comment on The Post’s article about the verdict in the phone-hacking case. But in a number of previous media interviews, he has strongly denied allegations that he was involved in covering up phone hacking while he was a senior executive for Mr Murdoch. Post published An article in March about the lawsuit also named Mr. Lewis.

In a contentious staff meeting on Monday, Mr. Lewis defended his business strategy, telling the newsroom that The Post lost $77 million last year, saw a 50 percent drop in audience from 2020 and that success Fundamental changes need to be made.

“Let’s not sugarcoat it. He needs to move around, okay?” he said, according to a recording of the meeting. “We’re losing huge amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People aren’t reading your stuff.”

He continued: “I had to make a decisive, quick move to pursue a different path, with the talent I’ve worked with being the best of the best.”

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