Washington Post expands foreign news operations

While newsrooms across America are being slashed to the core, The Washington Post is bucking the trend and investing in its newsrooms both in the US, and, increasingly, abroad.

by Simone Flueckiger | February 14, 2018

After revealing surprising plans in 2016 to add more than 60 journalists in the year to come, The Post just announced the opening of foreign bureaus in Rome and Hong Kong, and the addition of a second Mexico City-based correspondent.

The three new reporting positions bring the total number of foreign correspondents to 27 based in 19 locations.

The move comes two years after The Post set up bureaus in Paris, Istanbul and Brussels, which marked an acceleration of the organisation’s international expansion efforts started in 2013.

“By the end of 2018, the number of full-time correspondents deployed overseas by The Post will be as large or larger than at any point in the news organisation’s history,” foreign editor Douglas Jehl told WAN-IFRA.

“The previous high-water mark for Washington Post foreign coverage came in the early 2000s, when The Post had 24 or 25 full-time correspondents based overseas. The Post’s foreign staff grew smaller in 2006 but has been expanding again since 2013.”

A commitment to serve a global readership

According to Jehl, The Post more than quadrupled international subscriptions from January 2017 to January 2018, while also surpassing one million paid digital-only subscribers last year.

“The Post now reaches a vast digital audience around the world and across the United States, and we are committed to being a global news organisation to serve a global readership,” Jehl said.

Chico Harlan, who was The Post’s bureau chief for Japan and the Koreas from 2010 to 2014, will head the bureau in Rome, covering southern Europe, while also serving as a reinforcement to The Post’s reporting about the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, newly announced Mexico correspondent Kevin Sieff is moving to Mexico City after three years based in Nairobi as The Post’s Africa bureau chief. He will help deepen the coverage of Mexico and Central America, focusing on issues such as immigration, trade, illegal drugs and corruption.

The Hong Kong correspondent, whose focus will be on Southeast Asia, has yet to be recruited.

“We expect all Washington Post foreign correspondents to be generalists, with a mission of delivering the most ambitious, distinctive and timely coverage of the world, with a focus on what is most consequential and most interesting,” Jehl said

The Hong Kong and Rome bureaus had both previously been shuttered, along with the Istanbul bureau, which was reopened in 2016.

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