Following our report on Monday that Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald had stepped down, a reader commented that Macdonald indicated in his final piece for the agency that he had simply come to the end of his 3-year assignment. Move on; nothing to see here.
We were curious so we checked Macdonald's start date as Bureau Chief and turns out, he began his stint in April of 2007. That's 38-39 months devoted to a "3-year assignment". Of course, employees do sometimes have their contracts extended for various reasons; it may be for example, that Macdonald was asked to stay on pending the hire of a new Bureau Chief (although there have been no announcements of such yet). These things happen. Then again, if Reuters and Macdonald were happy with the work arrangement, why wasn't his contract formally renewed?
We may never know all the reasons for Macdonald's departure; Reuters was less than transparent in its response to the latest fauxtography scandal. On the other hand, once an individual gains some distance from a seminal event, he often feels the freedom and the need to share his experience -- in an interview or a book for example. We await more on this story about a great storyteller.