Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor
Former executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. was an intern in 1964.

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Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor

I was an intern in 1964, the second year of The Washington Post summer internship program. Another intern that year was Bob Kaiser, who was back for his second summer. We were both on the city staff and found ourselves competing to get the most stories on the front page, which was easier then, with an eight-column front page and a much smaller reporting staff. We wound up tied at the end of the summer.

We were offered, and accepted, full-time jobs at The Post, the first of dozens of summer interns who have stayed at or returned to The Post newsroom during their careers. As a native Ohioan and graduate of a public university, Ohio State, I would have had no chance, without that internship, of being hired out of college into what was then a mostly Ivy League-filled Post newsroom.

I worked for many years as a local investigative reporter before becoming an editor on the city desk. I was deputy metro editor during the Watergate coverage, which I helped edit. I later became assistant managing editor for metro news, London correspondent, national news editor and managing editor before succeeding Ben Bradlee as executive editor in 1991. For the next seven years, Bob Kaiser, my summer intern rival, was managing editor. As executive editor for 17 years, I valued the summer internship program more than ever as a source of exceptional talent for our news staff.

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