BANGKOK – The Associated Press has named Eric Talmadge, a veteran international correspondent who has covered disasters in Japan and Indonesia, war in Afghanistan and five Olympics, as its chief of bureau in North Korea.
He joins Senior Video Journalist Rafael Wober and Asia Chief Photographer David Guttenfelder in directing AP's pioneering news coverage and operations in Pyongyang.
The appointment was announced Tuesday by Brian Carovillano, AP's Asia-Pacific news director in Bangkok.
Talmadge, 51, has reported on a wide range of stories and events throughout Asia over the past 25 years, and was a key contributor to AP's award-winning team coverage of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.
In recent years, he has led a team of AP journalists focused on military and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, while also serving as the news cooperative's news editor in Tokyo.
Talmadge joined AP in 1989 after working for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper in Tokyo. He is a native of Olympia, Washington.
AP established a video news office in Pyongyang in 2006 and expanded its presence in North Korea in January 2012, becoming the first international news agency working in the country in text, photos and video. Over the years, AP journalists have been granted unprecedented access to people and places both in Pyongyang and in the countryside.
Talmadge succeeds Jean H. Lee, who will assume a new role as a writer covering in-depth issues on the Korean Peninsula and the region. As AP's bureau chief in Seoul the past five years, and in Pyongyang for nearly two, she has been instrumental in helping AP gain greater access to the traditionally isolated country.
Lee, 43, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, joined AP in 1995 in Baltimore and worked in California, New York and London before becoming bureau chief in Seoul in 2008.
In addition to the new assignments for Talmadge and Lee, Foster Klug has been named acting chief of bureau in Seoul. Klug has been the AP news editor in Seoul since 2010 and will now be responsible for coverage of South Korea. He will work closely with Talmadge, Lee, Guttenfelder and Wober.
Klug, 40, who is from New Orleans, was previously the agency's Asia-Pacific regional reporter in Washington, D.C.