Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, a longtime Washington Post editor, died on August 18 at her home in Arlington, Virginia at the age of 58. The Post confirmed her death in an obituary posted online, writing that Ferguson-Rohrer’s friend said the cause of death was complications from pancreatic cancer.
Ferguson-Rohrer worked at the Post for 22 years, first joining in 1998 and quickly rising through the ranks, eventually becoming the multiplatform editing chief, overseeing nearly 50 editors responsible for print, online and mobile news. Most recently, she worked as the night news director, tasked with overseeing late-night breaking news and deciding what readers would see the following day.
She is survived by her husband of 32 years, Scott Rohrer, her son Joshua, and two brothers and two sisters, the Post reported.
She Studied Journalism at Syracuse University & Michigan State University & Was a Passionate Volunteer
She was born Anne Marie Ferguson in New York City on November 13, 1961, and was raised in Pelham, N.Y. She was the eldest of five kids, her father was an Irish American homicide detective who worked for the NYPD, the Post wrote in its obituary.
Ferguson-Rohrer decided early on that she wanted to pursue journalism and after graduating from Pelham Memorial High School, she studied magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University and journalism with a professional writing specialization at Michigan State University, according to her Facebook profile.
She first worked at Paterson News in New Jersey, the Salisbury Post in North Carolina and the Winston-Salem Journal before joining the Washington Post in 1998, where she came to be known for her “combination of tough humor and gentle kindness.” In 2011, she won the Eugene Meyer Award, the highest award at the publication: “She has transformed what was a print-only desk into an operation versed in the high arts of search-engine optimization, linking and all manner of digital publishing,” her citation reads. “Anne shows a kind of equanimity amid chaos that epitomizes the best of our Newsroom culture. She is smart, careful and generous with her time and wisdom.”
In her spare time, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and was very involved in Basset Rescue of Old Dominion (BROOD), a dog rescue organization. She frequently posted photos of her rescue dogs on social media and shared her passion for the Yankees and the Giants.
Her Colleagues Posted Remembrances & Tributes on Social Media Following News of Her Death
Mike Semel, the local editor of the Washington Post, wrote in her obituary that Ferguson-Rohrer “was the final line of defense. You’d have a huge aspirational project that had been read by five senior editors and Anne would give it the final read. She’d always find ways to say things more clearly. But more than once, she saved our bacon by catching holes in the reporting or something that simply didn’t make sense. She’d never take or want credit. Anne never danced in the end zone. But she would take enormous pride in making sure our readers got our best work.”
Many other colleagues added their voices to remembrances and tributes to the late editor. Post reporter Mark Berman posted, “This is the worst, worst, worst news. Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, beloved colleague and taker of absolutely zero shit from anyone, died early this morning at her home.”
Another reporter, Rosalind Helderman, wrote, “An incredibly sad day for the Washington Post. I love this photo, which captures Anne’s spirit. She will be deeply missed.” Philip Rucker, White House Bureau Chief at the Post, posted, “Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, a beloved Washington Post colleague and devoted friend to many in our newsroom, has passed away far too early. She was the genuine article. RIP, Anne.”
Deputy national editor at the New York Times Jia Lynn Yang wrote, “This one really hurts. On the most hair-raising deadlines at night, Anne was always there for me. She’d get me through it, and she always reminded me of my humanity. That the work mattered but that I was also more than the work.”