A double SAJA move, folks. Romesh Ratnesar, who has been the world editor of Time since 2004, is going on book leave and is being succeeded by Aparisim "Bobby" Ghosh, who's been in the magazine's Baghdad bureau for four-plus years (Ghosh, who was born and raised in India, is the first Indian and first non-American to hold the world editor title at Time; Ratnesar is an American born to Sri Lankan parents). From Time editor Rick Stengel's memo (reproduced in full below):
I’m happy to announce that Bobby Ghosh has been named World Editor. Based in New York, Bobby will be responsible for editing the domestic magazine’s international coverage. In that role, he will be working closely with Michael Elliott, who leads the increasing coordination of our international output across all editions and time.com. Bobby’s extraordinary work from Iraq and his dedicated support of TIME’s Baghdad bureau has been inspiring to us all.
Bobby succeeds one of the great all-time TIME world editors, Romesh Ratnesar, who has departed for a well-deserved book leave. Romesh will be back in January in an important new role.
We decided not to disturb Ratnesar during his book leave, but did ask Ghosh to answer three questions (his answers are below). Also see a much longer SAJAforum Q&A with Ghosh right after his 2007 SAJA Convention salon (caught in action above by Preston Merchant) - he discussed his experiences as a reporter in Iraq. Please post your comments below (we'll make sure Ghosh sees them). More on Ratnesar in Mediabistro's profile, "So What Do You Do, Romesh Ratnesar?"
NOTE: Once again, the top two American newsweeklies have South Asians in charge of editing the international news for their domestic editions. Nisid Hajari is the foreign editor for Newsweek, and is Ghosh's counterpart. Fareed Zakaria, on the other hand, is editor of all the international editions, making him the counterpart of Michael Elliott, who's mentioned above.
[To reach Bobby Ghosh, e-mail saja(at)columbia.edu (subject line = pass onto Bobby Ghosh) or use the comments section below.]
THREE QUESTIONS FOR BOBBY GHOSH, WORLD EDITOR OF TIME
SAJAforum: Congrats on the new gig. How did you decide to move to HQ?
A: It was the sort of offer you don't refuse -- the chance to shape TIME's coverage of world news. But it was hard to give up Baghdad, especially my colleagues there. Luckily, my new job will allow me to travel to Iraq from time to time.
SAJAforum: Anything you will miss about Iraq? Is there such a thing as "warzone withdrawal?"
BG: What I feel is a tremendous sense of survivor guilt. My wife Bipasha says I've lost the ability to truly enjoy myself. It feels somehow wrong that I can go out to a nice dinner, or hang out at Central Park, or enjoy a great exhibition at the Met -- while my Iraqi colleagues worry about making it through the day alive. Not to be melodramatic about this, but it's hard to get away from the sense that I don't deserve these luxuries any more than they do. And I know other correspondents who have spent time in Iraq feel the same way.
SAJAforum: What do you think about the amount of coverage in the US media about world affairs?
BG: Truth be told, I'm surprised by how much international coverage there is in the print media -- in the NYT and WashPost, for instance. There's too little of it on TV, plainly; and what little there is tends to be flimsy or frivolous. Thankfully, I get CNN International and BBC World bulletins on cable.
Over on his blog, Prem Panicker reminds us about one of Ghosh's most widely-read piece: "The piece he is best known for is this chilling sit-down with an Iraqi suicide bomber; here, he discusses with Bob Garfield of On the Media how that story came about, and what the experience was like [transcript here]."
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 16:53:00 -0400
Conversation: Staff Announcement
Subject: Staff Announcement
FROM: Rick Stengel
I’m happy to announce that Bobby Ghosh has been named World Editor. Based in New York, Bobby will be responsible for editing the domestic magazine’s international coverage. In that role, he will be working closely with Michael Elliott, who leads the increasing coordination of our international output across all editions and time.com. Bobby’s extraordinary work from Iraq and his dedicated support of TIME’s Baghdad bureau has been inspiring to us all. Having spent four and a half years reporting on the war and more than two as Baghdad bureau chief, Bobby reported from Iraq longer than any other print journalist. His two Iraq cover stories during the past year, “Life in Hell: A Baghdad Diary” and “Sunnis vs. Shi’ites: Why They Hate Each Other” are already journalistic classics. He is the first non-American to hold the title of World Editor at TIME, as well as the first Indian. Bobby joined TIME in 1997 as senior editor for TIME Asia, based in Hong Kong, where he was a specialist on South Asian affairs and covered assignments in politics, war, sports, business and technology. He also wrote the weekly TIME.com column “Subcontinental Drift.” He then moved to London, as senior editor of TIME Europe, where he launched a travel section, TIME’s “Global Advisor,” and wrote about European social trends and Middle East politics. He will continue to report international stories as well. Bobby succeeds one of the great all-time TIME world editors, Romesh Ratnesar, who has departed for a well-deserved book leave. Romesh will be back in January in an important new role. Please join me in congratulating Bobby.
Post your comments below or e-mail saja(at)columbia.edu (subject line = pass onto Bobby Ghosh).