The New York Times is expanding in Australia, announcing Damien Cave as its Australia bureau chief and Jacqueline Williams as a locally based journalist.
In an internal memo sent to staff at The New York Times overnight, international editor Michael Slackman, deputy international editor Jodi Rudoren and Asia editor Phil Pan officially appointed Cave as Australia bureau chief.
Williams, an Australian local who has recently been working in The Times‘ investigations team, will also join the bureau. Michelle Innis, who has been a regular contributor for the past three years, will also be part of the bureau.
Internal Memo: Expanding in Australia
Australia is the next frontier for The Times’ global expansion, and we’ve found the perfect pair of pioneers to tackle it: Damien Cave, one of our most entrepreneurial and forward-thinking journalists, and Jacqueline Williams, an Oz native who has spent the last 18 months winning wide admiration in our investigative unit. They will join Michelle Innis, who has been a regular contributor to the international report for three years.
Damien, a former correspondent in Mexico City and Miami who has been a leader in redefining national coverage, will open our new bureau in Sydney and lead the Australia effort, building a small staff and stable of freelancers. He is a digital innovator and creative team-builder who played a critical role in the successful launch of the Race / Related newsletter, one of our most dynamic and groundbreaking initiatives.
Marc Lacey says Damien sends frequent late-night emails with his many new ideas so “it appears that he does some of his most creative thinking in his dreams.”
“His journalistic instincts are refined,” Marc continues. “He is as collaborative as they come. And he cares passionately about the many issues associated with race.”
In 12 years at The Times, there’s not much Damien hasn’t tried. He was our first political blogger, covering Cory Booker’s campaign for mayor of Newark in 2006; served in the Iraq war as part of a team of Pulitzer finalists; has done magazine narratives, investigative stories, audience-driven interactive projects and video series with outside partners; and joined the brainstorming group that shaped NYT en Español. His luck’s not bad either; he was finishing up a family vacation in Havana when Fidel Castro died, leading to another string of memorable stories.
All of this will be useful in Australia, where Damien will move in March with his wife, Diana, and two children, Balthazar and Amelia. “I just feel really lucky to be able to open a bureau in such a fascinating place,” he said. “I can’t wait to dig in, and I’ve already promised my family that we’ll all learn how to surf.”
Damien’s fellow trailblazer in this adventure is, according to Walt Bogdanich, “without question the most delightful, responsible young reporter I’ve ever worked with.”
In her short time on staff, Jacqui has distinguished herself on investigations, helping to break open the growing furor of daily fantasy sports, which led to regulation of the industry. She then was part of the team that exposed the NFL’s flawed concussion research and ties to the tobacco industry, and more recently, revealed how the billion-dollar expansion of the new Panama canal collided with reality. She also did a stint on culture covering the Nate Parker rape trial.
“She develops sources easily and isn’t afraid to think big,” says Walt, who brought Jacqui to The Times after seeing her outstanding work in his investigative reporting class at Columbia University. “Oh, she also cares deeply about accuracy — not a bad trait to have. I’m heartbroken she’s leaving.”
Besides her Columbia master’s in journalism, Jacqui has a master’s in globalization studies from Dartmouth, where her thesis examined the investigative journalism industry in Australia. She previously worked as a reporter for Fairfax Media in Australia.
Born in Canberra, she graduated in 2008 from the University of Hawaii, where she was a scholarship tennis player. Jacqui and her husband, Luc Maasdorp — who also left home, in South Africa, at 18 to play college tennis in the United States — are already in Sydney setting up shop.
Both Damien and Jacqui promise to welcome all visitors who make the trip.
Michael, Jodi and Phil
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