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Associated Press D.C. Bureau Chief Johnson Leaving Post.

Sandy Johnson, the veteran Associated Press Washington bureau chief, is stepping down from her post but may stay with the news cooperative, according to Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll.

In a staff memo, first posted on the Poynter.org Romenesko site, Carroll revealed Johnson's decision to depart, adding that "she has identified and nurtured many talented reporters and is deservedly respected as an editor with a fierce competitive thirst, a keen strategic mind and an amazing understanding of the American voting public."

Carroll's memo also pointed out that Johnson was largely the reason AP was among the few national news outlets not to report an Election Night winner in the disputed 2000 presidential vote.

"It was Sandy and a team of AP analysts who understood the voting patterns in Florida well enough to know that calling that state for George W. Bush was premature," Carroll wrote. "She knew the vote could go the other way and she refused, despite enormous outside pressure, to call that race. As a result, AP stood alone and Sandy's judgment was ultimately proved to be the right one."

In her own memo, Johnson gave few specifics for her decision to leave, stating: "With great sadness, I am leaving my position as Washington bureau chief today. It has been an honor to work with such an extraordinary group of journalists since I became bureau chief almost 10 years ago."

Neither Carroll nor Johnson could immediately be reached for comment Friday.

"We have offered Sandy a new assignment in the AP and she is weighing that offer, though has not yet made a decision," Carroll added in her memo. "We will be posting the Washington COB job. In the meantime, online political editor Ron Fournier will serve as acting Washington bureau chief, effective immediately."

Carroll's memo also detailed other changes in the AP structure, revealing that "Broadcast News Center and AP Television News will report into the overall AP News department, effective immediately. Kevin Roach, currently executive producer for Online Video, becomes acting head of all U.S.-based broadcast news operations. And Sandy MacIntyre, Director of News for APTN, will have the same role for all non-U.S. broadcast news operations. Both will report to me."

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Author:Strupp, Joe
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:May 2, 2008
Words:369
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