The Boston Globe, which is exploring the launch of a free-standing publication devoted to Catholicism, has announced that John L. Allen Jr., a reporter with NCR since 1997, will be joining the newspaper as an associate editor.
John's new job begins Feb. 1. Until then, he'll keep reporting for NCR, including coverage from Rome later this month.
We will miss John and the contributions he has made to NCR over the years. You know John as a journalist or a speaker, but we also know John as a colleague and a friend. While we regret that he will no longer be reporting for NCR, we also recognize on a professional level that this is an important career move for him.
We wish him well in his new challenges.
John called me a couple weeks ago to alert me to this possibility and to say he was weighing the offer. He wanted me to know and asked me to convey to NCR readers that this was not an easy decision for him to make.
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"I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to National Catholic Reporter for everything it's done for me over the past 16 years," John said. "I've long said that the Catholic church is the greatest beat in journalism, and NCR has given me incredible freedom and support in trying to track the Catholic story."
Although John will be working a similar beat as he did with NCR and in one sense will be a competitor, we look forward to a continued friendly, professional relationship as colleagues carried out in mutual respect.
When John called me this morning to let me know the announcement was coming from The Boston Globe, he asked me to share this with the NCR readers:
"Although it's time for me to take on a new challenge, I know I'm leaving the paper in great hands and that it will continue to produce the kind of reporting and analysis that make it absolutely indispensable."
John and I agree that the Catholic church is the greatest beat in journalism. We also agree that the more media outlets providing accurate, fair coverage of the church can only enhance all our efforts.
John, I want to thank you for your years of service to NCR and our readers.
And on behalf of the NCR team, I say to John and the Globe: Good luck!