We have long admired them from afar. Now we no longer need to: Andrew Das, Jeré Longman, Tariq Panja, Rory Smith and James Wagner are joining the International desk. Their mission will be to report on sports — as well as the people, businesses and ideas that animate them — and what they reveal about societies around the world.
Rory and Tariq are our new global sports correspondents, and will be based in the United Kingdom. From the United States, Jeré will follow stories wherever they take him as a dedicated Olympics correspondent — an investment in our commitment to covering the Games next year. Andy will oversee their work from the London newsroom, which he joined in 2021, and take on other duties on International as well. And James, who joined the Mexico City bureau this year, will use that perch to explore the intersection of sports and culture in Latin America.
You can expect to see this team building on their record of exceptional coverage as they examine sports and all they touch on every continent: culture and entertainment, media and money, education and politics. If that sounds familiar, it is because these subjects have long been the core of their work — and mirror those that all correspondents on the International desk explore.
James Wagner is almost certainly the only writer in America who has written about the performance-enhancing qualities of not only drugs but also of cologne, soft-serve ice cream, yerba mate, supermarket cafeteria food and the home cooking of a Dominican superstar’s grandmother. What fuels James? Great details, long days and the ability to get people to talk to him about things they may not really want to. He’ll venture beyond sports now, too, and work with Diego Ribadeneira, a senior editor on the Americas.
We’ve long believed that Rory Smith is the most talented writer on soccer in the world. But as he ranged from his home outside of Leeds, England, Rory told stories that were never only about soccer, not really. His favorites were about places (Greenland, Wales, the Scilly Isles) and people (social media stars, Welsh triathletes and English milkmen). Now, we are very excited to see what happens as he widens his lens beyond soccer and even sports and pushes further afield as a reporter and storyteller.
Tariq Panja, who joined the London bureau in 2017, has explored some of the darker corners and crevices of global sports. His greatest hits include features about migrants in Nepal, broken contracts in Brazil and a fake hospital in Russia, but he’s also fluent in crime, abuse and beer. In a single week in 2021, he was one of the first reporters to break news of the European Super League, documented its brief but doomed life, and produced a piece so complete and rich in detail it remains the definitive account of one of the biggest failures in sports history.
A month ago, Jeré Longman made New Zealand the 56th country from which he has reported during a career in which no journey was deemed too long, too cold, too wet or too unusual. How many people do you know, after all, who can say they’ve been to Hiroshima and Pyongyang; Robben Island and the Rift Valley; Chechnya and Chernobyl? Ask him for his favorite story. He’s got a million.
The editor behind so much of this work is Andrew Das, a 17-year veteran of The Times who has participated in coverage of every Olympics since 2008. In addition to editing Jeré, Tariq and Rory, Andy will take on a broader portfolio working with correspondents on a range of news and features. He has already jumped in to help with coverage of the war in Ukraine, and we also hope to see more of his byline in the future.
Please join us in welcoming this great team to International.
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