Posted in Announcements

New Middle East leadership team is named

, by Lauren Easton

In a memo to staff, Executive Editor Sally Buzbee on Friday outlined a new structure for AP’s Middle East region:

We are excited to formally announce AP’s new leadership team for the Middle East – a group of vibrant, accomplished journalists who we believe can take this busy region of the AP to new heights in reporting and visually-driven projects. As you know, Karin Laub became Middle East news director in 2018. She immediately dove into a regional reorganization plan designed to simplify lines of communication, increase speed and bring our journalists together even more in deep cross-format work.
Middle East News Director Karin Laub. (AP Photo)
AP journalists across the Middle East have been doing a spectacular job, as always, in trying circumstances. Most recently, of course, a team based in Cairo and Yemen won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting on the humanitarian disaster in Yemen; AP photographers also were Pulitzer finalists in spot news photography for their compelling chronicle of the Gaza conflict. This all came as our journalists were busy covering daily crises from Iraq, Syria, Israel and Gaza to the Gulf and Iran, Sudan and Libya. It’s fair to say this region is never far from the heart of the world’s interest. Our goal was to create a more nimble structure at the regional level and in the field to allow for even greater teamwork and speed of reaction. We also believe that this blend of journalistic expertise will guarantee excellence in each individual format.
Here’s how it will work:
  • Balint Szlanko and Dusan Vranic have been named as deputy Middle East news directors. Balint, a former video journalist in northern Iraq, will oversee regional planning, video production and budget issues. Dusan, a longtime chief photographer for Israel and the Palestinian territories and before that Iraq, will supervise photography and digital storytelling.
  • Separately, we have carved out four sub-regions and appointed news directors for each:
    • Zeina Karam, based in Beirut, for Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. 
    • Maggie Hyde, based in Cairo, for Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.             
    • Jon Gambrell, based in Dubai, for the Gulf countries and Iran.
    • Joe Federman, based in Jerusalem, for Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
We are confident this is an ideal lineup to handle upcoming challenges in a region roiled by war, conflict, mass migration, social unrest and drought.