After serving a three-year term as ombudsman of The Washington Post, Deborah Howell worked as a consultant for Advance Publications, Inc., where she had worked for 15 years before joining the Post. Howell joined the Post in October 2005, where she wrote a weekly column for the newspaper.
Howell was a reporter and editor for her high school newspaper and also at the University of Texas. She began her journalism career in 1962 as a reporter for KZTV and KSIX radio in Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1963, she moved to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times as a copy editor and reporter. In 1965, she became a reporter at the Minneapolis Star, then city editor at the same newspaper in 1975.
Howell became assistant managing editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1979, and then rose through the ranks as managing editor (1982-1984), executive editor (1984-1987) and senior vice president and editor (1987-1990).
Howell has served as a judge for the Neiman Fellowships at Harvard University and has four times served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.
She died Jan. 2, 2010, in an accident in New Zealand.