Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber steps down. (YouTube/Screenshot)
Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.


Expelled reporters leave China after headline row

Updated 24 February 2020

Expelled reporters leave China after headline row

  • The journalists work for the WSJ’s news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion pages

Two Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters left China on Monday after being expelled over a controversial headline in an op-ed that angered Beijing.

Three reporters were ordered out of the country last week over what Beijing deemed a racist headline that the journalists were not involved in writing — marking one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years.

But analysts noted that the decision to revoke their credentials came a day after Washington tightened rules on Chinese state media operating in the US — raising suspicion that Beijing had retaliated.

The WSJ opinion piece — headlined “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — was written by a US professor who criticized the Chinese government’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s foreign ministry said it was “racially discriminatory,” and as the newspaper wouldn’t apologize, the three reporters had their press cards revoked.

Deputy bureau chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both US nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian, were given five days to leave the country, according to the Journal.

The journalists work for the WSJ’s news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion pages.

Decoder

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A letter from 53 WSJ reporters and editors called for the newspaper’s leadership to apologize, according to reports in the Washington Post, saying the headline was “derogatory.”

An AFP reporter saw Chin and Wen, wearing face masks, check in for their flight at Beijing’s main international airport and then pass through security.

Deng, the third journalist affected, had been reporting from Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus outbreak which has killed over 2,500 people.

The WSJ confirmed that she was still in the quarantined city.

The newspaper’s publisher said the outlet was “deeply disappointed” with China’s decision and that none of the journalists being expelled had “any involvement” with the opinion piece in question.

Decoder

Sick man of Asia

The phrase “sick man of Asia” originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th century, when it was exploited by foreign powers during a period sometimes called the country’s “century of humiliation.”