LAT: 'We remain committed to foreign coverage' *

I asked Bruce Wallace, the L.A. Times' Foreign Editor, to detail the moves affecting his correspondents in the wake of today's announcement that the staff is combining with the Chicago Tribune into a sort of Tribune Company foreign service. He held off on names, explaining that some of the moves have yet to become final, and says that foreign coverage will remain a strength at the Times.

I don't want to discuss specific staffing because any moves will take some time to put in place. We'll announce them as they happen. But you've seen that Sebastian Rotella will move to the DC bureau to continue his superb national security reporting.

As you have probably seen from today's announcement about a combined LA Times-Tribune foreign operation, we remain committed to foreign coverage as a pillar of the paper. The foreign staff will be directed from Los Angeles, and will continue to emphasize the fine writing that is more than ever a signature of our coverage. I have been amazed at the incredible work our correspondents have produced on a daily basis in the midst of uncertainty. They are never outworked. They are keen observers. And we give them room to write what they see and what they know. That will be a hallmark of our foreign coverage as we go forward.

I urge anyone who worries that the LA Times might retreat on foreign news to read what our correspondents have been producing in recent days. Take Jeff Fleishman's extraordinary piece on the blood-stained one-hundred dollar note he's been unable to get rid of since acquiring it in Iraq, or any of his work out of Egypt, and tell me who else in daily American journalism is writing with such beauty and insight. The same goes for Megan Stack's profile of Russian chameleon-propagandist Vladimir Pozner. Robyn Dixon continues to lead the way on coverage of Zimbabwe. We've set the standard for reporting on Mexico's drug war, both in print and online. Eddie Sanders has been the only American correspondent in Sudan this month and has provided first-hand accounts of the government pressures on aid workers, and the implications that has for aid-dependent people.

It's all in the finest traditions of LA Times foreign reporting. And it will keep coming.


My information is that Laura King will be replaced on the Afghanistan-Pakistan beat by a Tribune person and that Richard Boudreaux will be leaving Jerusalem. There's no confirmation yet of whether they will stay at the paper. [* Update: The info on King and Boudreaux now sounds incorrect; say tuned.] (King referred my query to Wallace and Boudreaux hasn't replied.) Here's the latest foreign staff roster. Susman appears headed to New York — reportedly Baghdad will be a one-reporter bureau — and Khalil has opted to leave the paper, as I said in the previous item. Chris Kraul sends word that he is still discussing with the Times whether to stay in Bogota as a contract stringer or return to Los Angeles.

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