CNN Names New Moscow Bureau Chief

By A.J. Katz Comment

As more stories of global significance continue to pour out of Russia in 2018, CNN believes now is the right time to strengthen its bureau in Moscow.

Nathan Hodge is joining the network from The Wall Street Journal to take on the role of CNN Moscow bureau chief.  Hodge was WSJ’s Moscow bureau chief from 2015 to-date, leading the outlet’s coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s intervention in Syria, and the ongoing conflict between D.C. and Moscow.

Before moving to Moscow, Hodge covered national security and military affairs for over a decade, and was the WSJ’s Kabul bureau chief, covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Hodge will be joined by CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen, who is moving to Moscow from the network’s EMEA headquarters in London.

Despite being based in London, Pleitgen has previously reported on political stories from CNN’s Moscow bureau, as well as embeds with the Russian military to Aleppo, Syria.

Here’s what Pleitgen told TVNewser in December 2016 about reporting from Syria:

 “You can’t report on Syria without being affected. The destruction is on such a large scale and the human suffering is so bad that it can be quite overwhelming. I think all media folks have their own way of dealing with it. I talk about it openly and say when something affects me. I think keeping things inside will only cause it to eat you from within. I also try to make sure that all team members I am with can feel that they can be open about things that affect them. Often talking about it and understanding that the others are affected as well really helps. It is normal for humans to be traumatized when they witness horrible things. I would be more concerned if I was not affected.”

Fellow CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance, who has covered Russia-themed stories for the network for more than a decade, will remain based in Moscow.

Since joining CNN in 2001, Chance has interviewed both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, and reported on major stories such as the Beslan school siege and the conflicts in Chechnya and Georgia.  He was among a group of journalists held by forces of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, in August 2011, and continued to report throughout his ordeal.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of Russia internationally, whether that pertains to its own upcoming elections, its alleged role in the recent US elections, or issues relating to Ukraine, Europe, China, Iran, and Syria,” CNN svp of international newsgathering, TV and digital Deborah Rayner said in a statement. “Vladimir Putin is a uniquely compelling figure, and his agenda at home and abroad is fascinating for audiences worldwide. No one is better placed to tell those stories than Matthew and Fred, and we could not wish for a better person to head up our Moscow operation than Nathan.”

Hodge added: “The fact that CNN is doubling down on its commitment to Russia was a big factor in me taking on this role. I know Fred personally from working alongside him in Syria, and I have followed Matthew’s career for a long time; both are exceptional journalists, and the whole team at the Moscow bureau is formidable. This is a crucial year for Russia, and the passion I have seen for the story at CNN makes me very excited about what’s ahead.”

CNN is announcing the expansion of its Moscow bureau fewer than two weeks after one of its correspondents received a “gift” from the Kremlin-funded TV news network RT.

The card that was inside the gift reads “Foreign Agent Holiday Care Package. Yours Truly, RT.”

The foreign agent reference is due to the fact that RT has had to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. last year.

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