In an unusually expedient manner, WaPo has hired a new Style Editor to replace Ned Martel, who recently stepped down after management heard numerous complaints about his demeaning management style. The new editor is: Frances Stead Sellers, a UK native, who has run National’s coverage of health, science and the environment since 2009. The memo makes an obvious point to address Sellers’ personality: She is “ferocious loyal” to her reporters and “the epitome of collegiality.”
Read the memo. It’s not half bad. Someone must have gone out dancing before writing it…
UPDATE: Lynn Medford, Sunday Style, Arts and Magazine Editor) just wrote this note to the newsroom: “A hearty congratulations to Frances. We do ask that she not try to impose Civilization on Style. heh heh heh.” Our sources tell us Sellers is a “truly lovely” person.
We are delighted to announce that Frances Stead Sellers will become Style
Frances brings uncommon range and depth to the job of running the finest
daily feature section in the business. She was deputy editor of Outlook,
then ran the Health section, and since 2009 she has run National’s coverage
of health, science and the environment. During Frances’s tenure, the Post
has soared on stories from the Swine Flu to the Gulf Oil Spill and the
Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster trifecta earlier this
year. Along with her high-voltage intellectual firepower, Frances is also
the epitome of collegiality and a writer’s best friend. The Gulf spill
coverage was noteworthy not simply for its speed and breadth, but for
brilliant writing from the team guided by Frances (and Kathryn Tolbert).
David Brown’s masterful stories about military medicine, Pulitzer finalists
this year, were another shining example of collaboration with a trusted and
supportive editor. Frances enjoys ferocious loyalty from reporters who work
with her, which will help raise Style’s formidable writing talent to new
In her new role, Frances will be responsible for the daily Style section,
Monday through Saturday. She will work in partnership with Lynn Medford,
who will continue to run Sunday Style, Arts and the Magazine. Frances and
Lynn report directly to Kevin, who will be closely involved in the daily
creation of Style and its journalism. Frances will oversee Style’s mission
to produce the most compelling narratives and most thought-provoking
criticism, along with newsy reviews and Stylish analysis of the day’s
events. She will also push the section to become as much of a force on
digital as it has always been in print.
Before joining the Post, Frances was deputy editor and then acting editor
of Civilization, the bi-monthly, general-interest magazine of the Library
of Congress, which she helped launch in 1994 and which won a National
Magazine Award in 1996. In 2003, she received an Alicia Patterson
Foundation Fellowship to write about dual citizenship, and in 2006 she was
awarded a Wolfson College Press Fellowship at Cambridge University to
research the evolution of newspapers in an age of instant news. Frances was
an editor of “Saving Lives: Millions at a Time,” a history of public health
published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2010,
she was one of the key editors of The Post’s instant book about the health
overhaul, “Landmark.” Most recently, she wrote a Style story about being
the prey in a human fox hunt in Sussex.
A native of the United Kingdom and graduate of Oxford University, Frances
first came to the United States to do graduate work in linguistics at the
University of Pennsylvania.
We are thrilled (or even chuffed, as the Brits might say) to welcome her to
Style. Please join us in congratulating her.
Kevin Marcus Liz