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Deborah Howell, former Post ombudsman

Matt Schudel

Deborah Howell, a longtime newspaper editor who was the ombudsman of The Washington Post from 2005 to 2008, has died in a traffic accident in New Zealand. We have a preliminary story about her and will be posting a more complete obituary later.

Deborah was perhaps the best-connected person in journalism and knew absolutely everyone in the business. Even I -- one of the least connected people in journalism -- have known her for almost 20 years. I used to send her my clips, hoping she would hire me for the Washington bureau of the Newhouse News Service, which she ran with distinction for 15 years.

She was the editor of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press before many women held such high positions in journalism and led the paper to Pulitzer Prizes. More coming later.

By Matt Schudel  |  January 2, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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Deborah not only had a passion for journalism, but also cared very deeply about journalists.

We lost USMC Sgt. Bill Cahir last year. Bill worked for my newspaper under Deborah's direction. She was one of the first to call the night we learned of Bill's death.

My heart goes out to Deborah and her family.

Posted by: jowens1 | January 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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