Whitaker Replaces Russert as NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief

Mark Whitaker has been named to replace Tim Russert as head of NBC News' Washington Bureau.

The former Newsweek editor, who joined NBC last year as senior vice president of news, will assume many of the off-camera duties held by Russert, who died of a heart attack in June.

As bureau chief, Whitaker will be in charge of "Meet the Press," as well as NBC News' election and political coverage. He also will make occasional appearances as an on-air analyst, the network said in its announcement Monday.

Whitaker, 50, worked as a summer intern at Newsweek while at Harvard University in the late 1970s and did a variety of jobs at the magazine before serving as its editor from 1998 to 2006.

While there, he supervised the growth of Newsweek's Web site, which is affiliated with NBC News' MSNBC.com. He was president of the American Society of Magazine Editors from 2004 to 2006.

With Whitaker's appointment, another decision remains in filling the gap left by Russert, legendary as a multi-tasker: Who will be the permanent "Meet the Press" host? Through the November election, the semiretired Tom Brokaw, who in the past anchored "NBC Nightly News," has stepped into the role.