OLD Media Moves

WSJ restructures China operations with three deputy bureau chiefs

June 24, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Matt Murray sent out the following announcement on Wednesday:

Dear all:

As we have said all year, the job of fully and fairly covering China is and will remain an imperative for The Wall Street Journal. China’s role in the world, its economy, its centrality for business and markets, and its sheer scale and influence all compel the attention of our audiences, who depend on us for a fully rounded picture of the Middle Kingdom.

To that end, we are today announcing a structure for a new, global approach to how we think and write about China. With our team of superb and informed journalists, led by Jonathan Cheng, we will expand beyond our physical bureaus in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to build a China Bureau that spans the globe and the clock.

There will be three deputy bureau chiefs: Yoko Kubota, Josh Chin and Sofia McFarland. Josh will oversee general China news, Yoko will manage corporate coverage, and Sofia will coordinate U.S.-based reporters and stateside coverage of the Beijing-Washington relationship from New York. All three report to Jon, who also will directly manage the China economics team.

Jeremy Page and Lingling Wei are now senior China correspondents. We will entrust them with delivering high-impact scoops and ambitious enterprise stories, as well as with helping shape our coverage: Lingling in the world of economic policy and trade, and Jeremy in the world of Chinese politics, geopolitics and diplomacy.

Yoko has been an essential part of our business coverage in China since moving to Beijing from Tokyo more than two years ago, leading the way in our coverage of all things technology in China, in particular the hardware supply chain. She has kept us on top of Beijing’s drive to build and protect its technology industry amid the ongoing trade war, and has reported on the rise of TikTok, the battle for semiconductor supremacy and the pullback in China’s auto industry. Once she returns from maternity leave, she and her team will work closely with Neil Western and his team in Hong Kong. Yoko, a native of Yokohama, speaks Japanese, Chinese and is picking up Italian.

Sofia returns for a third tour with the China bureau and a second as a deputy. She has spent the two years between her latest China stints as an editor for the Journal’s weekend Exchange section. A native of Sweden, she started as a WSJ news assistant in 1990 and has bounced between Asia and the U.S., with postings in Manila, Beijing and Hong Kong. She lives on the Upper West Side with her daughter, her son and two Chinese- and-Swedish-speaking grandchildren.

Josh has been a stalwart of our China coverage for a decade, from shepherding our China Real Time blog to more recently delivering high-impact investigative pieces on China’s rising surveillance state. His first piece on Xinjiang surveillance ran on our front page in 2017, and since then he has continued to break new ground on the subject, earning a Gerald Loeb Award in 2018 for international reporting and co-writing a forthcoming book on surveillance with Journal reporter Liza Lin. Josh, a native of Utah, will work closely with Brendan Moran, our incoming deputy World coverage chief for Asia.

Jeremy has won a Loeb, two Overseas Press Club awards and five other international prizes in the last decade in China. He led the way in chronicling the dramatic downfall of Bo Xilai, once among China’s fastest-rising political stars, and the rise to power of Xi Jinping. More recently, he documented China’s growing ambitions abroad in places as far-flung as Cambodia, Pakistan, the depths of the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Jeremy has had a byline on some of our biggest stories, recently spending a month in Wuhan digging into the origins of the virus.

Lingling has won multiple awards during her nearly 10-year tenure in China. She has documented Beijing’s secretive decision-making process with a series of high-impact stories, delivered scoops on China’s policy makers and, most recently, led coverage of the U.S.-China trade negotiations with Bob Davis, with whom she just published a book on the trade war. Following her expulsion from China, Lingling has returned to New York and is turning her efforts toward chronicling the shifting superpower relationship ahead of this year’s presidential election.

Finally, one of the central players of our China operation for two decades, the steady and indomitable researcher Kersten Zhang, has decided to retire. The contributions Kersten has made to our journalism are incalculable, and the leadership presence she has brought to the operation is simply irreplaceable. She will be sorely missed.

Please join me in congratulating Sofia, Josh, Yoko, Lingling and Jeremy.


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