Rachel Van Dongen named The Washington Post’s director of elections


Announcement from National Editor Matea Gold and Politics Editor Peter Wallsten:

We are thrilled to announce that Rachel Van Dongen will become The Post’s director of elections.

This is a critical new leadership role charged with planning and directing the presentation of our coverage of primary and general elections across all platforms, and one that requires deep knowledge of our digital operations, a track record of collaboration and vast experience with elections. Rachel, who has led the 202 newsletter franchise to extraordinary success over the past seven years and spent a decade running political coverage, brings a powerful combination of innovation and high metabolism to the position.

Rachel’s mission will be to leverage the collective journalistic firepower of the newsroom, along with the product and engineering teams, to ensure that The Post is the premier destination for the most authoritative, accessible and trustworthy election coverage. Among her responsibilities will be helping to drive robust and innovative live coverage plans, ensuring election results and analysis are displayed in smart and audience-friendly ways, and engaging our vast data resources to provide insights to readers and reporters in real time.

She has an impressive list of ideas for shaping the way we deliver information, for expanding our reach to younger and more diverse audiences, and for building trust with readers by bringing greater transparency to how we use data. As part of the Politics staff, she will work in partnership with the campaign editor and other politics editors and coordinate closely with colleagues in a wide array of departments in shaping the presentation of local, state, national and, at times, international elections.

During her time overseeing the 202 newsletters, Rachel launched The Daily 202, which helped break the mold for authored newsletters at The Post with original reporting and analysis along with embedded video, social media and graphics. She grew her team from seven to 13 people and launched half a dozen other newsletters in policy areas key to The Post, including health care, climate, technology and cybersecurity. Last year, Rachel helped shepherd the newsletters through a major redesign process involving all corners of the newsroom and colleagues across The Post’s product, design, engineering, marketing, advertising and PR teams.

This is Rachel’s second stint at The Post. From 2008 to 2011, she helmed WhoRunsGov.com, an experiment in creating a new kind of political directory, and launched the Plum Line with Greg Sargent. She directed 2012 campaign coverage for Politico before taking over that publication’s Congress team and serving as deputy managing editor. In the early 2000s, she spent four years based in Bogota, Colombia, as a freelance foreign correspondent for the Economist and the Christian Science Monitor.

Rachel is a native Washingtonian who attended Barnard College in New York and got her degree in English literature with a minor in political science. She lives in Columbia Heights with her husband, Juan Fernando Gomez, and their son, Lorenzo.

Please join us in congratulating her on taking on this new position, which begins Feb. 22.


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