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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Editor at The Moscow Times

MTLynn Berry
Andrew McChesney, who started his journalism career with The Moscow Times more than nine years ago and has been with the paper ever since, is taking over from Lynn Berry as the paper's editor on Friday.

Berry, who became editor in January 2001, is the longest-serving editor in the newspaper's 14-year history. McChesney was the deputy editor throughout her tenure, and they worked together closely.

"I have all the confidence in the world that Andy will continue to uphold the standards the paper has set for solid reporting and impartial coverage of politics and business in Russia," Berry said.

"In this sense, the paper will not change. At the same time, I know Andy has many ideas of his own for continuing to take the paper forward."

Berry, 46, joined The Moscow Times as night editor in 1998 and was later promoted to managing editor. She had come to Moscow in 1995 as a foreign correspondent with The Associated Press after working for the news agency in Philadelphia and New York.

She earned a master's at Indiana University and spent two years on a fellowship at Warsaw University in the 1980s before returning to the United States to begin a career in journalism.

McChesney, 33, is also American but has spent little time in the United States. The son of professors, he was born in Zambia and lived in Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Singapore before moving to the United States at the age of 15.

He first came to Moscow in 1995 to teach English for a year while still a student at McKendree College. In January 1997, a week after his last exam, he returned on a one-way ticket with $800 in his pocket, hoping to get a job at The Moscow Times. He was hired as a part-time copy editor three weeks later.

He steadily worked his way up, holding the posts of copy desk chief, business reporter, deputy business editor, night editor and deputy managing editor before becoming deputy editor in chief. As a result, he understands the workings of the newsroom inside and out.

His appointment by CEO Derk Sauer as the newspaper's sixth editor was announced to the staff in January, paving the way for a smooth transition.

"Although it may seem an obvious choice to promote the deputy editor to editor, I am very happy because Andy has shown himself to have a good instinct for what it takes to keep The Moscow Times a successful business undertaking," said publisher Maxine Maters.

At the start of 2001, two weeks before McChesney and Berry took over, the newspaper's pages were shifted to give more prominence to business coverage. Long buried behind the world pages and opinion pages, the business pages were moved forward to where they are now, directly following the news pages. Business stories now compete more than equally with news stories for a place on the front page. The shift was in recognition of the growing importance of business in Russia and the often-close connection between business and politics.

A more recent shift has been to put an even greater focus on coverage of Russia. If in the past, for example, a devastating earthquake in Indonesia or the capture of the al-Qaida leader in Iraq would have been candidates for the front page, the policy now is to give greater weight to stories about Russia. International events are still covered in the paper, but on the world pages, with a small headline in the index bar on the front page telling readers where to find them.

Igor Tabakov / MT

Andrew McChesney

The logic is that with Internet use now widespread, readers look to other sources for the news they need from other parts of the world. The aim is to make The Moscow Times the first place to go for news about Russia, whether the reader lives in Moscow, London or New York.

The newspaper's weekend section, now called Context, also was revamped on Berry's watch. Again, the aim was to make it the most authoritative English-language publication on Russian art, literature and culture.

The Moscow Times itself was redesigned in early 2005 to give it a fresher, more up-to-date look.

Also in early 2005, the paper was sold to Finnish media giant Sanoma, which bought all of Independent Media from Sauer and his Dutch partners. In addition to The Moscow Times and Vedomosti, Independent Media publishes about two dozen magazines. Sauer has remained the chief executive, and both he and Sanoma executives have guaranteed the paper's continued editorial independence.

Although a small paper, The Moscow Times covers a big story, and the issues it tackles are often complex. This is true whether the news is the destruction of a private oil company, a hostage-taking terrorist attack on a theater or school, the abolition of gubernatorial elections, new rules for NGOs, a dispute over gas prices or the emergence of an energy superpower.

Berry and McChesney are Americans, but this is not reflective of the newspaper's outlook or its staff. The paper also has editors and reporters from Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and Nagorno-Karabakh. Many of the reporters are Russian -- some coming from as far away as Dagestan or Vladivostok. The diversity of the newsroom brings balance to the paper and makes it special, both for those who work here and hopefully for its readers.

"The Moscow Times is an amazing newspaper covering an amazing story, and I look forward to taking it forward," McChesney said.

"I am indebted to the many editors and reporters at the newspaper who helped me grow as a reporter and an editor. But the biggest thank you goes to Lynn for believing in me years ago and taking the time to share her wisdom."