Telegraph editor Robert Winnett won’t be joining Washington Post

Robert Winnett, the deputy editor of the British broadsheet Telegraph, will not be joining The Washington Post as its top editor.

“I’m pleased to report that Rob Winnett has decided to stay with us. As you all know, he’s a talented chap and their loss is our gain,” Telegraph Editor Chris Evans said in an email to staff.

Washington Post Chief Executive William Lewis confirmed the change in a note to staff, adding that the paper will launch a formal search for a new editor. 

Robert Winnett, a top editor at the UK Telegraph, won’t be joining The Washington Post. The Telegraph/YouTube

“It is with regret that I share with you that Robert Winnett has withdrawn from the position of Editor at The Washington Post,” Lewis wrote. “Rob has my greatest respect and is an incredibly talented editor and journalist.”

The news reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal. The Post has sought comment from The Washington Post.

Winnet was slated to assume the role of editor at The Washington Post after this fall’s presidential elections.

He was picked for the job by Lewis, another Brit who recently was named chief executive and publisher at the Jeff Bezos-owned publication, which has been hemorrhaging cash in recent years.

The appointment of Lewis has raised hackles at the paper, where Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists went on record and demanded that Bezos reverse course and remove Lewis over questions about his integrity and ethics.

More than a decade ago, Lewis was a senior executive at News International, the parent company of the now-defunct News of the World, whose reporters were accused of hacking the phones of high-profile officials in the UK.

Lewis has denied any wrongdoing in the phone hacking scandal.

News International has since been renamed News UK, which shares common ownership with The New York Post.

Winnett’s past journalistic conduct has been called into question. LinkedIn

Last weekend, The Washington Post published an investigative piece digging into Winnett’s journalistic past.

The story alleged that Winnett had close ties to a trained actor who used subterfuge and illegal means to obtain information, including an attempt to steal a soon-to-be-released copy of a memoir by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A New York Times article last week reported that Lewis and Winnett both used fraudulently obtained phone and company records in newspaper articles while they worked as journalists in the UK two decades ago.

Lewis assigned the article based on stolen information when he was business editor of The Sunday Times, according to the report.

Winnett’s byline appears on another story that is alleged to have been based on information that was fraudulently obtained, according to The New York Times.

Winnett is a veteran journalist at the broadsheet The Daily Telegraph. Getty Images

At the time that Lewis and Winnett were working for The Sunday Times, the newspaper was relying on the services of a private investigator who later acknowledged that he obtained information using deceptive means.

The Sunday Times, however, has denied that it ever paid anyone to break the law. The Sunday Times is owned by Times Newspapers Limited, which is a subsidiary of News Corp, The Post’s parent company.

The New York Times also reported last week that Lewis paid more than 100,000 British pounds — which was equal to around $160,000 — to a source in exchange for information while he was editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Most American newspapers adhere to a policy that bars payment to sources.

News of the appointment of both Lewis and Winnett outraged newsroom staffers at The Washington Post, who say that these alleged ethics lapses by the two British journalists disqualify them from a position of leadership at the venerable paper.

Winnett is a protege of William Lewis, who was recently named publisher and CEO of The Washington Post. The Washington Post via Getty Images

Bezos on Tuesday sent a memo to top editors at The Washington Post in which he expressed his “full commitment on maintaining the quality, ethics and standards we all believe in.”

David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Washington Post who has won two Pulitzer Prizes, wrote a Facebook post demanding that Bezos dismiss Lewis.

“I don’t know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and supposed new editor can stand,” Maraniss wrote.

“There might be a few, but very very few.”

Scott Higham, another Pulitzer-winning journalist at the newspaper, seconded Maraniss’ argument, writing in reply on Facebook: “Will Lewis needs to step down for the good of The Post and the public.”

“He has lost the newsroom and will never win it back.”

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