Milton Coleman, the longtime deputy managing editor of the Washington Post, just became Senior Editor of the Washington Post. Taking his place as deputy managing editor is Shirley Carswell, the longtime assistant managing editor for planning and administration.

Anyone care about this inside-baseball personnel move at the area’s premier daily?

Probably not. Yet Coleman is one of the more compelling figures at the paper, a relentless advocate for diversity in the newsroom and a man of very certain opinions on news coverage, especially Metro news.

See WaPo memo after jump.

We’re pleased to announce that Shirley Carswell, now Assistant Managing Editor for Planning and Administration, will become Deputy Managing Editor of The Post, effective May 18. Milton Coleman, who has been a central figure in the newsroom since he became Deputy Managing Editor in July 1996, will become Senior Editor. In that role, he take on the important tasks of overseeing our ethics policies and standards and managing our corrections process. He also will continue to serve as an advisor to El Tiempo Latino and other company publications and projects that Don Graham will assign. Milton also has just been elected vice president of the American Society of News Editors, the organization of U.S. newsroom leaders. He will become ASNE president next April.

In her new role, Shirley will oversee personnel, administration, research and newsroom technology, critical areas as we re-engineer and adapt to the changes sweeping our profession. Assistant Managing Editor Peter Perl, who is responsible for personnel matters, and Claudia Townsend, who will be promoted to Director of Newsroom Operations, will report to Shirley.

Anyone who has worked with Shirley knows that she is a center of calm in a bureaucratic whorl. She is a master of her arts, managing the integration of our print and online operations, bringing together our two staffs into a common team, rebuilding offices and running budgets.

Shirley grew up in Pittsburgh, earned her undergraduate journalism degree at Howard University, and worked in Richmond and Detroit before joining the Post in 1988 as a copy editor. She’s been assistant Managing Editor since 1994, after a succession of jobs that included metro copy chief. Peter, who now oversees all personnel matters, joined the Post in 1981 as a reporter. He has been an assignment editor and a staff writer on The Washington Post Magazine and was an elected official of the Newspaper Guild before taking on his current role.

Claudia, who has been deputy assistant managing editor for planning and administration, joined The Post in 1981 from the Washington Star. She’s been city editor, metropolitan editor, financial day editor and an editorial board member. One of her big tasks this year will be overseeing with Raju and our colleagues in IT the introduction of a new content-management system.

With these changes, Milton will step out of the day-to-day running of the newsroom, although he will continue to work closely with us. Milton was first promoted from metro reporter into management as assistant city editor and then city editor in 1980. He went back to reporting on the national staff for a stint before he was named AME/Metro in 1986. He became Deputy Managing Editor in July 1996, and in that role has been a mentor, advisor and leader to so many here, including us.

Milton has accomplished much in his career, and he has done a huge amount for our profession beyond these walls, too. He has judged prize competitions and worked with groups promoting journalism education. He is an officer of the Inter-American Press Association, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives and, of course, the American Society of News Editors. He has been an ardent advocate of the vitally important role of diversity in our newsroom and industry.

We are fortunate that Milton will continue to take an active role and confident that, with Shirley, Peter and Claudia in place, the many, often complex changes underway here will go more smoothly.

Marcus Liz Raju