Downie: Gone?!?

Harry “Politicians Ain’t Nuttin But A G Thang” Jaffe reports that “The Washington Post newsroom is buzzing with rumors that executive editor Leonard Downie will take the buyout being offered to Post staffers.”

Although Jaffe concedes that there are “many reasons to discount the rumors,” he also notes that Downie’s “tenure has been dogged by declining circulation, falling revenues, and a series of buyouts that have drained the newsroom of talent and experience.”

As for a successor, managing editor Phil Bennett doesn’t seem like a natural pick (“he has gone out of his way to choose a pliant lieutenant in Philip Bennett. In a Machiavellian way, choosing Bennett as his number two was smart. Bennett has delivered much of the bad news about buyouts and reassignments, which has allowed Downie to keep his hands somewhat clean during the bloodlettings of the past few years.”) and the Post may have to look outside the newsroom. Jaffe floats New York Times DC Bureau Chief Dean Baquet as a possible pick and also suggests that publisher Katharine Weymouth “could merge the newspaper and the fast-growing online operation under one editor, perhaps Jim Brady, now editor of”

Tipsters, what do you think?