Exclusive: Dexter Filkins Poached by The New Yorker

Dexter Filkins, a star war correspondent for The New York Times, is heading to The New Yorker, a person familiar with the situation tells The Observer.

“I love the New York Times, and I’m hugely grateful for all they’ve done for me. I’ll miss everyone there very much. The New Yorker has offered me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m very excited about it,” Mr. Filkins wrote The Observer in an email.

Mr. Filkins, who is in Istanbul today, has been considering the move for two months. Over 10 intense years, he has won numerous awards for his reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts, including the 2005 George Polk Award for his coverage of the battle of Fallujah. Those experiences were memorably chronicled in more personal terms in his 2008 book, “The Forever War.”

At The New Yorker, Mr. Filkins won’t write exclusively about war—he is expected to weigh in on other topics. To keep Mr. Filkins at the Times, editors there offered him the freedom to write, essentially, whatever he wanted wherever he wanted, whether on the front page or in the Sunday magazine. He has delivered big scoops as recently as two weeks ago—that sensational Taliban impostor story—and his role will be difficult to fill.

“Dex is a huge talent. I’ve personally written him two Pulitzer nominations,” Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote The Observer in an email. “We’ll miss him a lot, but I totally understand that after ten years of high-adrenaline, high-risk war reporting, he wants something completely different.”

The hire is a coup for David Remnick, who earlier this year persuaded the Times‘s first choice to edit its Sunday magazine, Daniel Zalewski, to stay at The New Yorker.

Mr. Remnick did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

(This post has been updated with comment from Mr. Filkins and Mr. Keller.)

nsummers@observer.com | @nicksumm Exclusive: Dexter Filkins Poached by The New Yorker