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Washington Post Editor Marty Baron to Retire

Shortly after joining The Post, he oversaw an investigation that would go on to win the Pulitzer in public service: a series of articles that exposed the National Security Agency’s global surveillance efforts. The work was carried out by 28 Post journalists and was based largely on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former government contractor. (The Post shared the 2014 Pulitzer with the U.S. arm of The Guardian.)

News organizations in possession of the top-secret government documents found themselves in thorny ethical territory. At the time of the Pulitzer win, Mr. Baron said the decision to inform the public was clear. “Disclosing the massive expansion of the N.S.A.’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service,” he said.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, praised Mr. Baron for making “the tough, fast decision about the Snowden papers,” as well as his overall tenure at The Post.

“The Post was in a difficult moment when he took over,” Mr. Baquet said. “It had probably lost some of its confidence. And he set a clear path.”

“He’s made every institution he touched better,” Mr. Baquet added.

Mr. Baron said in his note to the staff that The Post was now “well positioned for the future,” with a larger readership and broadened coverage. The Post has about three million digital-only subscribers, up by nearly a million in the last year, and its newsroom has grown, from 580 journalists when Mr. Baron arrived to more than 1,000.

The paper was owned by the Graham family, the caretakers of the paper for three generations, when Mr. Baron started there. It was struggling financially as it dealt with the battles all newspapers have faced: declining print ad revenue, plummeting circulation and new competition from digital news outlets.

In August 2013, Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, bought The Post for $250 million. Since then, the combination of Mr. Bezos’ resources and Mr. Baron’s newsroom know-how has revived a paper perhaps best known for its reporting, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, on the Watergate scandal that toppled President Richard M. Nixon.

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