From an internal memo obtained by FishbowlDC, from Phil Bennett:
After two decades of leading our photo department into the front ranks of American photojournalism, Joe Elbert has asked to shed his management duties and become a photographer again. He wants to make the transition by the end of the year.
Since Joe took over the department in 1988, Washington Post photographers have won three Pulitzer Prizes, six national Photographer of the Year titles and seventeen White House News Photographers Association Photographer of the Year titles â€“ an unmatched record of achievement. Post photographers also have won many, many first place category awards in these competitions, which are judged without knowledge of the identities of the photographers or their news organizations.
Joe accomplished this with a wide range of photographers working in the most diverse department in the newsroom. He has been a great recruiter and teacher. He has educated the other senior editors in the newsroom about the nature and importance of photojournalism. And he has taught and encouraged countless photojournalists in seminars all over the country. In 1995, the National Press Photographers Association named Joe its Editor of the Year.
Choosing a successor to Joe is a daunting task. It involves envisioning the future of our photojournalism in a multi-media era. We welcome thoughts and suggestions from the photo department and the rest of the newsroom.