The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Anne Bernard, NYT and perils of covering syria (and blogging)

Posting Anne’s response below to my earlier post where I was way too quick and wrong in making it seem like her ONLY experience was as a NYC beat reporter… I just looked at her NYT headlines and not a few years back as I should have. She does have Mideast experience – That said, the larger point stands: Syria needs someone who has extensive experience reporting from there. This issue, in my opinion, is way too critical and complex (indeed open to many of the Iraq War reporting pitfalls that are now well-known) to have it covered in any other way than with someone intimately familiar with the country.

Given the NYT role and resources this is a basic requirement, or should be. indeed, the NYT has other folks and there are many in town here in Lebanon who are excellent, who fit the bill and who could be press ganged into the thick of things. The NYTs should have gone that extra mile after Anthony’s passing to ensure this happened. There is simply way too much at stake.

Thanks to Anne for her very very considerate response to my oversold and undersourced point!

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Hi Nick –

I was the Boston Globe’s Baghdad bureau chief and Middle East bureau chief for 4 1/2 years until the Globe unfortunately closed down its foreign coverage for financial reasons, at which point I moved to the Times in New York. I’m very proud of the stories I did in the region from 2003-2007, including on Iran and Syria. I also did stints in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Globe.  I fill in on the foreign desk when and where I am needed, including previously in Lebanon, Libya and Russia. I am currently a projects writer on the Metro desk, an assignment in which most of my work is long-term investigative and narrative projects. I use my Middle East experience even in New York where relevant, particularly in coverage of Islam, such as taking the lead on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in which, I hope, I helped to contextualize a misunderstood story.
As for “replacing Anthony Shadid,” no one can do that. He was a sweet friend, assiduous mentor, inspiration, guardian angel and colleague to me and countless friends over the decade that I was lucky enough to know him. We are still grieving and the desk has not come to any decisions about what to do with the post for the long term. I am filling in now because it is all hands on deck to continue, in our imperfect way, his work to illuminate the region that he, and we, care so much about. I welcome correspondence from anyone with an interest in the story. Clicking on my byline gives you a link through which you can send me a direct email.
Best, Anne Barnard

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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