Rukmini Callimachi joins NYT

The Huffington Post

Associated Press reporter Rukmini Callimachi will join the New York Times, Michael Calderone reports.

Callimachi “will begin working in New York, with regular forays abroad,” the Times’ memo says (full thing below).

Callimachi was AP’s West Africa bureau chief and broke a number of stories while there. While searching through buildings abandoned by an Al Qaida group in Timbuktu, she and AP Bamako correspondent Baba Ahmed found bags of documents, including a rare internal manifesto as well as one Qaida leader’s performance review.

Last year Callimachi spent months looking for bodies buried in the desert of northern Mali. Most belonged to Tuareg and Arab residents who didn’t leave the area after French and Malian troops recaptured it from Qaida forces.

I’ve always enjoyed writing about Callimachi’s work, not just because of her enterprise but the way she wrapped color and voice around her copy. For example, this 2012 story about how famine affects children’s development in Chad. β€œThe mistake a lot of foreign correspondents make is they get wrapped up in reporting what they think sounds important rather than what interests people,” she told me last March.

Here’s the Times’ memo:

Subject: Rukmini Callimachi

Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that Rukmini Callimachi, a storied correspondent for the Associated Press currently based in West Africa, will be joining the international desk as a correspondent at the end of March.

Many of our colleagues have long admired Rukmini’s deeply reported and finely wrought dispatches from datelines as far flung as Timbuktu and New Orleans on on subjects as diverse as al Qaeda’s personnel management system and massacres in Guinea. She has earned many prizes along the way. In 2009 she was a Pulitzer finalist for her series on child labor and trafficking in West Africa.

Rukimini will begin working in New York, with regular forays abroad, and we’ll announce a new assignment for her in the near future. Please join us in welcoming her to The Times.

Joe, Michael and Lydia

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