For those obsessively tracking the distribution of beats at the New York Times, this memo went out this morning:

From: Baranger, Walt
Date: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:06 AM
Subject: [NYT Newsroom] Staff News from Here and Abroad

To the Newsroom:

Kate Taylor is Culture's newest reporter. Also, Kit Seelye, reporter extraordinaire, is our newest New England correspondent (through May). And Rod Nordland in Kabul is our newest deputy bureau chief.

—Kate Taylor joins the Culture desk as a reporter. Here's a note from Jon Landman:
Kate Taylor gave Sam some sleepless nights when she was breaking culture stories for The New York Sun. Alas, the economy and related circumstances conspired against his ambition to hire her, and when she signed up with The Wall Street Journal to join the staff of their new New York section there was nothing we could do. Now there is. She'll join us as a culture reporter on Monday.


—We're delighted to announce that Rod Nordland, who has been a stalwart of our Baghdad bureau coverage and has ably served as its deputy bureau chief, will be transferring his superb journalistic and administrative skills to Afghanistan. Read more in this note from Susan Chira, Joe Kahn and Ian Fisher.

Rod, who has begun cycling into the Kabul bureau, will become deputy bureau chief in Kabul, working with Alissa Rubin. Carlotta Gall remains our senior Afghan correspondent.

Rod is a former chief foreign correspondent for Newsweek who has run its Kabul and Islamabad bureaus, as well as others in Beirut, Cairo, Rome, and Sarajevo, as well as parachuting in to virtually every big foreign story over the past 20 years. He worked in Baghdad for much of 2009, displaying great versatility and collegiality, as well as consistently good administrative judgment. He wrote a string of telling news stories and graceful features, as well as an unforgettable expose of how, despite evidence that they were completely ineffective, the Iraqi police relied on the equivalent of expensive divining rods to detect explosives.

Anthony Shadid will step into Rod's shoes in Baghdad, working with Steve Myers to lead a bureau that has already profited from his deep knowledge of Iraq and his evocative prose.

Susan, Joe, Ian

—Kit Seelye arrived in Boston today (Monday) to fill in as the New England correspondent while the fabulous Abby Goodnough is on maternity leave until late May. Read more in this note from Rick Berke.

Kit, who will work with our tireless superstringer, Katie Zezima, brings a Yankee sensibility to the beat. Her mother's family is from Maine, where Kit spent part of her summers. As a character-building exercise, her mother made Kit and her brother go swimming at 6 o'clock every morning in the cold ocean waters. We expect that was good training for the National Desk.