NY Times Reporter Rukmini Callimachi Moving to Higher Ed Beat After ‘Caliphate’ Collapse

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Lachlan Cartwright, Maxwell Tani
·2 min read
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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

The reporter at the center of the collapse of one of the New York Times’ biggest reporting projects is moving to a new beat.

Rukmini Callimachi, formerly one of the paper’s highest-profile reporters on ISIS and extremism in the Middle East, has been re-assigned to cover higher education, multiple people familiar with the matter confirmed to The Daily Beast. The plum new beat will see Callimachi covering Ivy League schools and the goings on at college campuses across the country.

The move follows an internal investigation that determined her critically acclaimed podcast relied on a source who fabricated much of his story.

Last year, Callimachi came under scrutiny after Shehroze Chaudhry, the central character in her Caliphate podcast, was arrested by Canadian authorities for allegedly concocting a terrorist hoax, spinning a false narrative to Callimachi and others about his involvement with ISIS extremists. The arrest sparked a major internal investigation at the Times, which ultimately retracted much of the reporting and returned awards the podcast had received.

But top editors insisted that Callimachi would stay on at the paper, arguing that mistakes in her reporting were the result of numerous errors at various levels. When the findings of an internal investigation were released in December, Times executive editor Dean Baquet said: “I think it’s hard to continue covering terrorism after what happened with this story. But I think she’s a fine reporter.”

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The fallout from the award-winning podcast’s scandal has continued to reverberate within the Times.

Last week, for example, the paper announced that long-time editor Cliff Levy would temporarily move to a position advising the audio department just weeks after another one of its stars, Daily podcast host Michael Barbaro, was forced to repeatedly apologize for privately messaging and blocking Twitter users who criticized Caliphate.

And the fate of Andy Mills, the producer of Callimachi’s now-disgraced podcast, seemingly remains unclear.

In the weeks since the paper was forced to retract much of the podcast’s reporting, some of Mills’ former colleagues have expressed concern about his treatment of women in the workplace and at social events. Earlier this week, journalist Yashar Ali reported that Mills’ account on the paper’s Slack had been deactivated.

The producer has not tweeted since December, and emails from The Daily Beast to his Times address bounced back. However, Mills told reporters earlier this week that his status at the newspaper has not changed.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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