McClatchy Foreign-Coverage Changes Could Close Bureaus

By: Joe Strupp McClatchy Newspapers is discussing changes in its foreign operations that could see some bureaus closing, with other locations opening and some expanding.

One scenario being reviewed would have bureaus in Jerusalem, Moscow, Nairobi and Caracas closing, while re-opening a bureau in Mexico City. The chain would then keep current bureaus in Cairo, Beijing and create another Middle East bureau in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The long-praised Baghdad bureau has remained, but without a full-time McClatchy bureau chief, since April. It is using local staffers.

Part of a change could have Moscow Bureau Chief Tom Lasseter, formerly of the Baghdad bureau, relocating to China and Jerusalem Bureau chief Dion Nissenbaum possibly going to an Afghanistan or Pakistan bureau, sources said.

"McClatchy has had a long-standing commitment to try and continue to cover the world and covering Jerusalem goes back decades," said Nissenbaum when contacted about the potential switch.

Washington Bureau Chief John Walcott, who oversees the foreign coverage, said no decisions have been made and that other scenarios are also under review.

"That is under discussion among other things," he said of the changes noted here. "There are likely to be some changes, but nothing is set in stone. There are other things going on that are under discussion." He declined to provide other specifics being discussed.

He confirmed that Shashank Bengali, who has headed the Nairobi bureau, is returning to the United States. Former Baghdad Bureau Chief Leila Fadel also returned to the U.S. in April.

"The only bottom line that is clear is that we are positioning in the places that are most important to the country and the readers of our newspapers," Walcott said.


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