Merida As AME/National

FishbowlDC hears that Kevin Merida may soon be named the Washington Post’s AME/National…replacing Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

>UPDATE: Confirmed. Full memo from Phil Bennett and Marcus Brauchli after the jump…(and new roles are outlined for Bill Hamilton and Chandrasekaran)

    To the staff:

    We’re pleased to announce that Kevin Merida will become assistant managing editor for national news, starting Jan. 5.

    Kevin is one of the newsroom’s most talented and versatile journalists. In his 15 years here and before that as an editor and reporter at the Dallas Morning News, Kevin has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and national politics. At The Post, he has worked for National and Style, has written for virtually every section of the paper and for a time wrote a syndicated column. He’s done memorable profiles of people across the political and social spectrum, from Hillary Clinton to the 18-year-old NBA rookie, Tracy McGrady. He has been involved in a number of projects, including the “Being a Black Man” series, and has co-authored two books, a biography of Clarence Thomas, written with Michael Fletcher, and, most recently, a book on Barack Obama, with the photo historian Deborah Willis. Kevin is one of The Post’s finest writers, and while we will miss his voice, we look forward to seeing how he shares his vision as an editor.

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who with Bill Hamilton led the national department through much of this remarkable and often-frenetic news year, will become an associate editor, writing and helping to conceive and direct projects on national-security and related matters. An exceptionally perceptive journalist with an acutely tuned understanding of the world, Rajiv has worked on Metro, Financial and in foreign, as a correspondent in Southeast Asia, Cairo and finally Baghdad. His bestselling book, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” resulted from that final stint. Rajiv also ran the continuous-news desk before coming to national. He will bring vision–and return a powerful voice–to our news columns.

    Bill, who’s run our excellent political coverage this year and is one of this paper’s most artful editors, will work with Kevin at the outset. After our own transition is complete, he will assume a senior role working closely with us to oversee enterprise journalism. Over the last year, Bill has helped to engineer an important generational change in our political group and adapted our coverage for a digital audience while continuing to set the agenda with enterprise work. He is a superb steward of stories, both deeply knowledgeable about Washington and a master wordsmith. He has been Los Angeles correspondent, national editor, the paper’s first weekend editor, and twice guided The Post’s political coverage. We will describe Bill’s new responsibilities in more detail in a later announcement.

    Our national staff has done terrific work this year in challenging circumstances, including leadership changes at the paper. The campaign’s prolonged intensity, the overlay of a financial crisis, and the historic election produced a stream of great journalism. Kevin, Rajiv and Bill remain central to our efforts to define the major stories and issues facing the country and the new administration. We will place a priority on strong coverage of government, policy and politics, as well as distinctive, high-value enterprise work.

    These moves mark the start of what will be a series of shifts aimed at better structuring our news operations to serve our traditional print readers and our fast-growing audience online. For now, Kevin will assume control of National as it is constituted. Ultimately, he will have responsibility for how we present national news across platforms. We will work closely with him to develop different structures to ensure that we are agile and responsive to our digital audience and that we preserve the authority, originality and depth of coverage our readers have come to expect from The Post.

    Please join us in congratulating Kevin, Rajiv and Bill on their new assignments.

    Marcus & Phil