This is an enormous loss for the New York Times.
The NYO broke the news that Dexter Filkins, the Times star war correspondent for the past decade is departing for the New Yorker.
That he is leaving for the New Yorker is perhaps less surprising to those who have read Filkin’s book The Forever War, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008, or followed his various book reviews in other publications.
It goes without saying, New Yorker readers will be the luckier for the move. Also, one suspects after more than a decade in war zones Filkins might be looking for an alternative.
According to John Koblin, Filkins notified the Times today.
“I think Dexter Filkins has long proved himself as one of the great war correspondents and foreign correspondents not only of his generation but ever,” said Remnick…The plan here is to send Dexter to a wide variety of foreign stories that we will work out mutually,” he said. “I’m sure that he will get his fill of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I’d also be very surprised if he didn’t travel far and wide—whether that’s the Middle East or Africa or India.”
The NYT didn’t let go of him easily.
The Filkins negotiation has lasted months, including a moment two months ago when Keller and Times foreign editor Susan Chira tried to convince Filkins in person in Afghanistan to stay at the paper (Keller and Chira were on a previously scheduled trip). Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren had tried to set up opportunities for Filkins to write for the magazine. Evidently, it wasn’t enough.
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