NY Times Makes Changes to Investigations Team

Three, to be exact.

The New York Times has named Ian Fisher head of its investigations department. Fisher most recently served as deputy executive editor. He previously served as bureau chief in Rome, deputy editor on the paper’s foreign desk and day editor on NYTimes.com.

In related news, Paul Fishleder has been promoted from deputy editor for investigations to senior editor for investigations. The Times has also moved Christine Kay from investigations to a new role as enterprise consultant.

Below is the memo announcing the changes, from executive editor Dean Baquet and deputy executive editor Matt Purdy.

It is no secret that investigative journalism is one of our biggest priorities, and that remaining the best is central to our vision for The Times. The Investigations Department has been responsible for some of our most ambitious and groundbreaking coverage. Given its singular place at The Times, we have asked Ian Fisher, one of our most seasoned and gifted journalists, to assume the leadership of the department.

Ian comes to the job not only with the background of a distinguished foreign correspondent and reporter in Metro and Washington, but with deep experience as a digital leader of the newsroom.

Ian’s appointment is one of several aimed at enhancing our investigative and enterprise journalism, which continues to grow more robust across the paper – from Washington’s project on attorneys general to Metro’s Rikers reporting to BizDay’s examination of General Motors.

Paul Fishleder, who has shepherded countless prize-winning investigative series, will become senior editor for investigations, working with Ian. Christine Kay, one our most creative editors who, with Paul, was Matt’s partner in running Investigations for a decade, will leave the department and work with Matt on enterprise stories around the newsroom. (More on those jobs in a moment.)

Ian’s experience will allow him to continue broadening the scope of our investigative reporting and transforming it for the web. In a sense, Ian has had two careers at the paper – he followed a classic Times trajectory from Metro to Foreign before traveling a path he helped cut into fresh territory. On Metro in the 1990s, Ian covered everything from Albany to the Bronx to health care to the local delegation in Washington. For 10 years beginning in 1998, Ian was posted in four bureaus overseas – Nairobi, Warsaw, Prague and Rome – and also spent two years going in and out of Baghdad.

After returning to New York as a deputy on Foreign, he spent five years as one of the key digital leaders at The Times, first mastering the home page and then transforming the newsroom’s practices and culture. Thanks to Ian, it is now second nature for us to quickly get news on the web, and he integrated news alerts, live blogs and other mechanics of breaking news into the operation of each desk. He was our digital leader for five years, playing a central role during a time of tremendous transformation.

In his new job, Ian’s unerring instincts for a great story and his deep experience in digital will come together as he helps transform long-form journalism.

Paul has edited many of The Times’ hardest-hitting and most enduring investigative projects over the last 20 years, including a half dozen or so that have won Pulitzer Prizes. He is dedicated to the stories and to reporters who dig them out. He has the highest standards, a seamless touch as a writer and an unflinching eye for a story’s weakness and how to strengthen it. Paul has been the central axis of the Investigations Department since it was formed in the 1990s.

We are establishing a new job for Christine Kay, one that recognizes her talents as a master editor of the long-form story, both narrative enterprise and investigations. Christine has edited some of the paper’s signature journalism in recent years, from Portraits of Grief and Invisible Child to investigations of tainted food and the Murdoch hacking scandal. Christine will work with Matt as a roving enterprise consultant to help conceive and polish enterprise stories emerging from the desks and occasionally to edit them herself. Christine has set the bar high with the amazing line of stories she has edited over 19 years at The Times, and she will now help us uphold those high standards for our best enterprise journalism from across the newsroom.

All of these moves underscore our commitment to our most distinctive journalism. And they only enhance our existing investigative strength across the paper, from Rebecca Corbett’s enterprise teams in Washington and New York, to the Metro investigative group headed by Mike Luo, to desk-by-desk operations, such as BizDay’s, which produced the General Motors stories and a string of Wall Street exclusives.