Prominent Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer to take over ‘Times’ blog India Ink

Basharat Peer. ()
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As The New York Times evaluates its blogs to determine which ones will still be around when it implements a big web reboot later this year, there's at least one site that Capital has learned won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

The Times has hired Basharat Peer, a Kashmiri journalist, to run its India Ink blog, which was launched in 2011 to offer comprehensive coverage of the subcontinent.

Peer, whose hiring has been something of an open secret among Indian media circles recently, replaces Heather Timmons, who is moving to Hong Kong for a new job. The Times is expected to announce the move internally later this afternoon.

As we reported in April, the Times is in the process of deciding what to do with its dozens of blogs as it prepares to overhaul its homepage and article pages. A few of the blogs, including Media Decoder, have already been scrapped.

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But Times foreign editor Joe Kahn told Capital that India Ink is "one of the destination sites that has a fairly robust and growing audience."

The Times does not break out traffic for individual blogs, but Kahn said India Ink's is "significant in terms of the ranking of our blogs, and it's a pretty engaged group of people who follow, write for and comment on it."

Keeping India Ink afloat also reflects the Times' strategy of scaling globally as it grapples with creating new revenue streams amid the decline of print advertising in the U.S. The Times has a China site as well, and is gearing up for the relaunch this fall of its sister title, The International Herald Tribune, which is becoming The International New York Times.

Peer's hiring is significant insofar as he is an established Indian journalist who's also cut his teeth in American media. He received a master's degree from the Columbia Journalism School in 2007 and has freelanced for the Times and The New Yorker, among other publications.