The big desks at The New York Times are so outsize in scope and ambition that they are like entire news organizations in and of themselves. International, with its 24-hour operation and forces arrayed around the world, is the biggest. And so with Michael Slackman taking on a broader role for the newsroom, the task of replacing him might have struck some as impossible. That it was not can be explained in two words: Phil Pan. We are pleased to announce that he is our next International editor.
The choice was a natural one. It is not just that Phil is a veteran of the desk, the first Asia editor for The Times based in Hong Kong, and intimately familiar with its rhythms and personalities. It is also that as our weekend editor and associate managing editor since 2019, he has shown he knows a thing or two about how to guide some of our most ambitious stories and lead a complex news operation through turbulent times.
We have given Phil a mandate for his new post: to take our extraordinary global operation to the next level. He will not be doing it alone. In Greg Winter, the International managing editor, he will have a remarkable journalist as his partner, one who deserves as much credit for the desk’s achievements in recent years as Michael, and has been involved with every aspect of the report, including shepherding some of the desk’s most impactful and ambitious enterprise. He will also work closely with Adrienne Carter and Jim Yardley, our Asia and Europe editors, who have tackled — and conquered — a seemingly unending series of journalistic challenges while leading the Seoul and London newsrooms through a period of head-spinning growth. And we know Phil and Greg have big plans for bringing more firepower to a desk that is already packed with talent.
The International desk excels at breaking news, enterprise, investigations and visual reporting, and that will not change. But the desk also plays a special role in the long-term ambitions of The New York Times. It has been on the leading edge of the digital transformation of the newsroom, and its success is central to our subscription strategy, as evidenced by the more than one million people who live outside the United States and pay for our work. We are an American news organization but also an international one. We are a newspaper and a website, but also so much more. Phil understands all these tensions more than most, and we expect him to help us define what The Times should be to readers around the world.
Fortunately, Phil has spent the past three years taking on big challenges in his role as weekend editor. Working closely with his deputy Ian Trontz, he had what may have been the strangest term of any weekend editor in Times history — one conducted almost entirely remotely. Navigating the competing pressures on the desks as the weekend approaches was no small task when all of us were in 620 Eighth Avenue. Yet Phil managed to do it week after week from a desk set up in the hallway of his apartment — and always with an emphasis on collaboration and the highest standards. He was a steady hand in a brutal news cycle, and he lifted our weekend report in print and online on countless big stories: the pandemic, including memorable Sunday editions marking one grim milestone after another; Trump’s chaotic final year and the 2020 election; the end of the war in Afghanistan and the start of the war in Ukraine.
Before joining The Times in 2011, Phil was bureau chief in Moscow and Beijing for The Washington Post, and he is also the author of an award-winning book, “Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China.” As our own Beijing bureau chief, he was the founding editor of our Chinese-language website, and as Asia editor, he turned our Hong Kong newsroom into a regional reporting and editing hub, which has since relocated to Seoul. He has also been a champion for our China correspondents, pushing for hard-hitting reporting including our coverage of Beijing’s top-secret efforts to repress millions of Muslims through a system of labor camps, brutality and surveillance, which was a Pulitzer finalist in 2020.
More will be shared in the coming days about the International desk’s leadership team, as well as our weekend coverage. For now, please join us in congratulating Phil.
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