On the eve of relaunching the International Herald Tribune as The International New York Times next week, the Times is expanding its roster of international opinion writers, as well as adding two new writers to its editorial board.
In a memo sent to New York Times staff on Tuesday, the paper’s op-ed team announced that it would be hiring 29 opinion writers from countries including Egypt, Bangladesh, Russia, and Poland to contribute monthly columns.
Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal said that the revamped op-ed roster was part of an international expansion for the Times, an ambitious push forward comparable with the paper branching out nationally three decades ago.
“We feel like there’s a great audience for us out there,” he said. “We already draw a lot of international readers to the Times. We always have. We think that there’s a lot of room for expansion in that readership.” The new writers’ pieces will appear on both the global and domestic versions of the Times website, which Rosenthal said will be a boon for American and international readers alike.
Rosenthal expressed pride in the range of writers he and deputy op-ed editor, Sewell Chan, had helped assemble. The op-ed team wasn’t looking for big names, he said, but rather writers who would enable the Times to offer a unique rotation of voices and regions.
“The mission was to come up with an interesting and diverse list of writers who do not live in the United States,” he said. Only one of the new writers does live stateside—Vali R. Nasr, an Iranian-American political scientist who is a dean at Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s hard in some places, because we have to get people who can write in English,” he continued. “The column loses its personality if it’s completely translated.” Rosenthal said that he was particularly keen to sign on writers in Latin America—which hasn’t always been well represented in the International Herald Tribune’s opinion pages—as well as in China and the Middle East. (All but one of the Times’ regular columnists live in the United States.)
The new opinion writers’ diversity also extends to their professions. Not all of them are journalists; a handful are academics, including political theorists, sociologists, and scholars.
In addition to new writers, the Times has hired Mira Kamdar, an Indian author and faculty member of the École de Journalisme at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris, and Masaru Tamamoto, a Japanese writer and former senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, as part-time members of the 17-person editorial board. Members write the paper’s editorials, which represent the opinions of not only the board, but also the Times’ editor and publisher.
“We want to get more international readers,” Rosenthal said. About 10 percent of Times subscribers are currently located outside the US. “There’s a great big world out there, and we think that The New York Times brings a lot already.”
Here is the memo:
October 8, 2013 International Opinion Expansion
We’re very happy to announce an important expansion of the Editorial
Department’s opinion offerings, to coincide with the IHT’s reincarnation as
the International New York Times next week.
Two writers have joined the Times editorial board as part-time members: *Mira
Kamdar*, based in Paris, and *Masaru Tamamoto*, based in Yokohama, Japan.
Ms. Kamdar is a faculty member of the École de Journalisme at Sciences Po
and the author of “Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest
Democracy.” Mr. Tamamoto has been a senior fellow at the World Policy
Institute, a research associate at Cambridge University and a MacArthur
Foundation fellow in international peace and security at Princeton
On the Op-Ed side, a roster of more than two dozen opinion contributors
will write monthly columns from around the world. They include:
• Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish columnist and the author of “Islam Without
• Matthew d’Ancona, a political columnist for The Sunday Telegraph, The
Evening Standard and the British edition of GQ, and a former editor of The
Spectator, the conservative political magazine.
• Alaa Al Aswany, an Egyptian writer and the author of the best-selling
novel “The Yacoubian Building” and “On the State of Egypt: What Made the