AP names Torchia as bureau chief in South Africa

Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press bureau chief in Turkey who has reported from five continents, has been appointed chief of bureau for AP for southern Africa.

The appointment was announced Thursday by Africa Editor Andrew Selsky.

"Torchia is one of the best foreign correspondents in the business and has the experience and talent to deliver fascinating stories from this important and diverse region," Selsky said.

As southern Africa bureau chief, Torchia, 45, will oversee coverage of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Madagascar, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi. He will be based in Johannesburg and report directly to Selsky.

He joined the AP in Albany, the New York state capital, in 1989 after a stint at The Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico. He moved to the AP's Boston bureau and the international editing desk in New York, and then transferred to Colombia in 1994, covering drug cartels and rebel and paramilitary groups.

He was posted to Indonesia during the Asian economic crisis that helped oust President Suharto in 1998 and served as bureau chief in South Korea and Singapore, reporting on events including the North Korean nuclear standoff and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. In late 2006, he moved to Istanbul, where he drove coverage of Turkey's rising diplomatic and economic profile and contributed to reporting on the Mideast and on the Arab spring uprisings and Syria's civil war.

He also has reported frequently from Iraq and Afghanistan, covering the 2006 execution of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, among other stories.

Torchia holds a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University. He is the co-author of "How Koreans Talk" and "Indonesian Slang: Colloquial Indonesian at Work."

An American, Torchia lived in South Africa as a youth. His father, Andrew Torchia, a foreign correspondent for AP before retiring in 1994, also served as AP's bureau chief in Johannesburg in the 1980s.

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