Times’ Beijing Bureau Chief Takes On India

“Almost nothing has superseded the Olympics as a political priority in China,” wrote Jim Yardley, The Times’ Beijing bureau chief on Aug. 25. “For Chinese leaders, all that effort paid off.”

The same could be said about Mr. Yardley.

After Times executive editor Bill Keller praised the paper’s coverage at the Olympics this year to no end—“stunning” and “dazzling” were two adjectives he used in two different memos—Mr. Yardley is hanging it up, after five years in Beijing.

He walks away with a Pulitzer in international reporting in 2006 and a golden ticket at the paper.

His next assignment: New Delhi.

The news about Mr. Yardley comes along with a series of other moves on the foreign desk. 

Mr. Yardley will replace Somini Sengupta, who spent four years as the New Delhi bureau chief, and who will take a temporary sabbatical in the Netherlands before getting a new assignment.

He’ll be joined by Lydia Polgreen, who will leave her post as West African correspondent. The paper is officially looking for a replacement. (That means anyone can dream! In 2006, Jeffrey Gettleman, who had proved his foreign reporting chops with two stints in Iraq, was airlifted from Metro to the paper’s East African bureau chief position.)

It’s a small miracle that the paper is making moves like these at a time when papers around the country are shutting foreign bureaus.

“Luckily, the top management of the Times sees foreign news as essential to the identity and mission of the Times,” foreign editor Susan Chira wrote in an e-mail. “So while we are careful to pare costs whenever we can, and while we have had to juggle bureau positions so we don’t go up overall, we are in the fortunate position of avoiding major cuts.”

And in other juggling news, Nori Onishi, the paper’s Tokyo correspondent, is leaving Japan for Indonesia. He will be replaced by Martin Fackler, a BizDay writer who has covered Tokyo off and on since 1996 with The Times, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.

jkoblin@observer.com Times’ Beijing Bureau Chief Takes On India