Anne Garrels

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Anne Garrels
Born(1951-07-02)July 2, 1951
DiedSeptember 7, 2022(2022-09-07) (aged 71)
EducationRadcliffe College
Years active1975–2016
(m. 1986; died 2016)

Anne Longworth Garrels (July 2, 1951 – September 7, 2022) was an American broadcast journalist who worked as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, as well as for ABC and NBC, and other media.[1][2]

In the mid-1970s, when she worked for ABC (including as producer), Garrels was one of the few women national broadcast journalists in the United States—eventually serving as ABC's Moscow Bureau Chief in the Soviet Union, until expelled for her detailed, unflattering reporting on the country and its issues. She became a war correspondent for ABC, covering Central American conflicts. She later became NBC's reporter at the U.S. State Department.

In 1988, Garrels began her 22-year career as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), closely covering conflicts and other major events throughout the world, earning numerous media awards, most famously for covering the 2003 Iraq War and its aftermath—at one point the only American broadcast journalist in Iraq's war-torn capital.

Garrels was active in journalism-related organizations, and global affairs causes, and wrote two noted books—one about the Soviet Union, and one about the Iraq war and its aftermath, both recounting her own experiences, as well as providing detailed historical coverage of those places in that time.

Background and education[edit]

Anne Longworth Garrels was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 2, 1951, the daughter of Valerie (Smith) and John C. Garrels, Jr.[1] She spent part of her childhood in London, where her father worked as an executive for Monsanto.[1] She was educated at St Catherine's School, Bramley.[1]

Garrels returned to the United States and enrolled at Middlebury College, but later transferred to Harvard University's Radcliffe College, where she studied Russian and graduated in 1972.[1][3][4]


Early career[edit]

In 1975, Garrels worked for the ABC television network in several positions for ten years, including as producer—one of the few women broadcast journalists at the time.[1][3][5][6]

She served ABC in the Soviet Union as Moscow bureau chief and correspondent until she was expelled in 1982. Able to speak Russian, and "in love" with the country, she was noted for more in-depth reporting from that country than most other U.S. journalists. She interviewed prominent Soviet dissidents Andrei Sakharov, Roy Medvedev, and Sergei Kovalyov. Her reporting exposed numerous hardships of Soviet citizens, displeasing the Soviet government, resulting in her 1982 expulsion. She did not return until 1988, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union.[1][2][3][5][6]

As ABC's Central American bureau chief from 1984 to 1985, she covered the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.[1][2][3]

Garrels was the NBC News correspondent at the U.S. State Department.[3][6]

In mid-1988, Garrels hosted Science Journal, a 25-part weekly news series on science, medicine and technology, at WETA-TV, and aired by PBS. It was the first such television series of its kind, with panel discussions among experts and journalists.[7][8] However, Garrels' workload at National Public Radio (particularly as State Department correspondent), and a family illness, forced her to withdraw from the program that November.[9]

NPR career[edit]

Garrels joined NPR in 1988 and reported on conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, and Iraq.[2][10] She also reported from China (and covered the Tiananmen Square Protests) and Saudi Arabia. She returned to Russia in 1988, as the Soviet Union began to collapse, and from 1993 until 1997 was NPR's Moscow bureau chief.[6][5][11]

Garrels was the Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 1996,[2][12] and was a member of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists from 1999 until her death in 2022.[2][10][12] She also served on the board of Oxfam America.[6]

Following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., in September 2001, and during the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Garrels spent several months in northern Afghanistan with the Northern Alliance, and in or around Kabul, also traveling to Pakistan and Israel in early 2002.[4]

Shortly before the U.S. and its coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, Garrels traveled there. and was one of the sixteen Western journalists who remained in Baghdad, and reported live during the 2003 Iraq War[2][4][3][13]—and for a while was the only American broadcast reporter still broadcasting from the middle of Baghdad.[1][6][14] Garrels survived the April 8, 2003, U.S. tank attack on the Palestine Hotel, where she and hundreds of other journalists were living.[15][16]

Following the April 8, 2003, U.S. bombing of the Al Jazeera office in Baghdad, which killed journalist Tareq Ayyoub ("Tariq/Tareq Ayoub"),[15][17] Garrels reportedly said that Ayyoub should have known better than to be in his office during the invasion—a comment that raised angry responses from some in the international journalism community, who accused her of "blaming the victim."[18]

Shortly after her return from Iraq, she published Naked in Baghdad (2003, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), a memoir of her time covering the events surrounding the invasion.[10][19][16] She subsequently returned to Iraq several times for NPR. She was an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marines during the November 2004 attack on Fallujah.[20] Garrels also covered the January 2005 Iraqi national elections for an interim government, as well as constitutional referendum and the December 2005 elections for the first full term Iraqi government. As sectarian violence swept much of central Iraq Garrels continued to report from Baghdad, Najaf[21] and Basra.

In 2007 Garrels was criticized by FAIR for using confessions by prisoners who had been tortured, during a story about an Iraqi Shiite militia (broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition).[22] Garrels later defended her story on NPR's Letters program, saying: "Of course, I had doubts. But the details that were given seemed to me to gel with other things that I had heard from people who had not been tortured. But I was as uncomfortable as the listeners were with the conditions."[23]

Garrels retired from NPR in 2010.[24]

Late career[edit]

Garrels continued her work with the Committee to Protect Journalists until the end of her life, serving on its board of directors.[2][10][12]

In 2016, she published her second book, Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia, with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.[1]

Toward the end of her life, Garrels served as a judge for the Overseas Press Club Awards, including the Lowell Thomas Award which she judged in 2021.[25][26]

After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Garrels, then 70 years old and undergoing treatment for cancer, approached NPR about coming out of retirement to cover the conflict. While her offer was declined, she started a non-profit organization, Assist-Ukraine, to raise money to support Ukraine and victims of the war, particularly medical supplies,[1][5][27] reportedly raising US$1 million for the cause.[28]

Personal life[edit]

In 1986, Garrels married J. Vinton Lawrence,[2][3] one of two CIA paramilitary officers from the Special Activities Division stationed in Laos in the early 1960s, who worked with Hmong tribesmen and the CIA-owned airline Air America.[29][30][31] They were married until Lawrence's death from leukemia in 2016.[1]

Garrels lived in Norfolk, Connecticut, where she died from lung cancer on September 7, 2022, aged 71.[1][28]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Publications and programs[edit]



Television programs[edit]

  • Science Journal, 25-part weekly news series on science, medicine and technology, 1988, WETA-TV / PBS[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Seelye, Katharine Q. (September 7, 2022). "Anne Garrels, Fearless NPR Correspondent, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Engle, Jane: "From Beijing to Baghdad, Garrels strayed far to the drumbeat of war," L.A. Press Club, retrieved September 8, 2022
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Anne Garrels". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on August 10, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Alumnae to be honored by Radcliffe Association in June," May 30, 2002, Harvard Gazette, Harvard University, retrieved September 9, 2022
  5. ^ a b c d "Remembering longtime NPR foreign correspondent Anne Garrels who died at 71," September 8, 2022, Morning Edition, National Public Radio (NPR)
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Anne Garrels" from "Board of Directors," at Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), retrieved September 9, 2022
  7. ^ a b Brennan, Patricia: "Wimbledon Tennis, 'Capitol Fourth,' 'Science Journal'," July 3, 1988, Washington Post, retrieved September 11, 2022
  8. ^ a b Brennan, Patricia: "All-Star Baseball, News Specials, Summer Comedy," July 10, 1988, Washington Post, retrieved September 11, 2022
  9. ^ "The TV Column", Washington Post
  10. ^ a b c d e "NPR'S Anne Garrels Wins Prestigious Polk Award". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c "Anne Garrels, Journalist," from "Our Fellows," Fall 2003, The Montgomery Fellows Program, Dartmouth College, retrieved September 9, 2022
  12. ^ a b c "Board of Directors". Committee to Protect Journalists. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  13. ^ Huffman, Suzanne; Sylvester, Judith L. (2005). Reporting from the front: the media and the military. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 177–84. ISBN 0-7425-3060-4.
  14. ^ "Anne Garrels, Back in the U.S.A.," April 23, 2003, National Public Radio on WKSU-FM, retrieved September 9, 2022
  15. ^ a b "Foreign media suffer Baghdad losses," April 8, 2003, BBC News, retrieved September 11, 2022
  16. ^ a b c "Reporting From Baghdad During the War: NPR correspondent Anne Garrels describes what she observed and thought while reporting from Iraq," book excerpts, Winter 2003, Nieman Reports, Harvard University, retrieved September 11, 2022
  17. ^ "3 scribes killed by US troops in Baghdad," April 9, 2003, Hindustan Times (citing Al Jazeera), retrieved September 11, 2022
  18. ^ Goodman, Amy: "Independent Media in a Time of War, featuring Amy Goodman: Transcript", 2003, Democracy Now!, as transcribed at Media Education Foundation, retrieved September 11, 2022
  19. ^ Garrels, Ann, interviewed by Wolf Blitzer: "News from CNN: Book Documents Wartime Baghdad...", transcript, September 10, 2004 CNN, retrieved September 11, 2022
  20. ^ Stratton, Ted S. (November 24, 2005). "Over the airwaves, a voice from Iraq". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  21. ^ "Anne Garrels, longtime foreign correspondent for NPR, dies at 71". September 7, 2022.
  22. ^ Macdonald, Isabel (March 28, 2008). "NPR Defends Torture-Based Reporting". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  23. ^ "Letters: Shiite Militia". NPR. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  24. ^ "Reporting From The War Zone: Garrels Reflects". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  25. ^ "OPC Award Judges," March 17, 2022, Overseas Press Club of America, retrieved September 11, 2022
  26. ^ "People Remembered,", in People Column, September 8, 2022, Overseas Press Club of America, retrieved September 11, 2022
  27. ^ "Anne Garrels," Assist-Ukraine, retrieved September 11, 2022
  28. ^ a b Voight, Heidi:"A Tribute to War Correspondent and Pioneering Journalist Anne Garrels," September 7, 2022, NBC Connecticut, retrieved September 8, 2022
  29. ^ "Vietnam Online: Cambodia and Laos". PBS: American Experience. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  30. ^ Toensing, Gale Courey (January 11, 2006). "Award-winning journalist recounts Iraq war stories to Housy students". The Corner Report. Archived from the original on April 25, 2006. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  31. ^ "Naked in Baghdad". Fresh Air. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  32. ^ a b "2005: Anne Garrels, National Public Radio," Trinity College (Connecticut), retrieved September 8, 2022
  33. ^ "The Madeline Dane Ross Award 1994,", April 4, 1995, Overseas Press Club of America, retrieved September 11, 2022
  34. ^ "Documentary Series on Former Yugoslavia Wins Highest duPont-Columbia Journalism Award,", press release #19037, January 16, 1997, Columbia University, retrieved September 11, 2022
  35. ^ "1998 OPC Award Winners,", April 22, 1999, Overseas Press Club of America, retrieved September 11, 2022
  36. ^ a b c d "Anne Garrels, an NPR Senior Foreign Correspondent, to Accept Missouri Honor Medal and Host Master Class," February 23, 2009, Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri, retrieved September 8, 2022
  37. ^ "George Polk Awards Past Winners", George Polk Awards, Long Island University, retrieved September 11, 2022
  38. ^ "Courage in Journalism Award: Anne Garrels, United States". IWMF. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  39. ^ "Coverage of Iraq, NPR | duPont-Columbia Award Winner 2004," (video on Vimeo), posted 2011, Alfred I. duPont Awards, retrieved September 8, 2022
  40. ^ "War in Iraq, National Public Radio," 2004, Peabody Awards, retrieved September 8, 2022
  41. ^ "NPR Foreign Correspondent Anne Garrels Named 2004 Murrow Award Recipient," May 11, 2004 Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), retrieved September 8, 2022
  42. ^ "SPJ Names the 2004 Fellows of the Society" September 14, 2004, Society of Professional Journalists, retrieved September 9, 2022
  43. ^ "Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting", Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, retrieved September 11, 2022
  44. ^ "Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism", Los Angeles Press Club, retrieved September 11, 2022
  45. ^ "Anne Garrels," 2012 Inductee: Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame, retrieved September 8, 2022
  46. ^ Smith, Wendy: [ "Want to See the Real Russia? Skip Moscow,"] February 26, 2016, Publishers Weekly, retrieved September 9, 2022
  47. ^ Yoder, Pamela: "Dying to Tell the Truth: The High Cost of Free Speech," March 31, 2004, Documentary Magazine, International Documentary Association, retrieved September 11, 2022

External links[edit]