Benjamin C. Wedeman (born September 1, 1960) is an American journalist and war correspondent. He has been CNN's lead correspondent in Jerusalem since 2009. He has been with the network since 1994, and has earned multiple Emmy Awards and Edward Murrow Awards for team reporting.
Early life and family
Ben Wedeman spent most of his childhood outside the United States, after having moved with his family to South Korea in 1968. Subsequently, the family moved to Bangkok and Phnom Penh, Cambodia (during the Cambodian Civil War). His father also served in the Ivory Coast and Syria working for USAID.
He attended boarding schools in Beirut, Lebanon (in 1974-75, just as the civil war broke out); Tangier, Morocco; and Windsor, Connecticut. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in Oriental Languages and Linguistics in 1982 and from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies with a master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies.
Wedeman is married, with three children. He has a sister Sara, a psychologist; brother Andrew, a political science professor; and brother Nicholas.
Wedeman was originally hired by CNN as a local Jordanian employee in 1994. The job title was "fixer/producer/sound technician"; one of his duties was to help reporting staff get through checkpoints, since he is fluent in multiple dialects of Arabic. He eventually rose to be CNN's Bureau Chief in Amman. From 1998 to 2006, Cairo, Egypt, Wedeman was CNN's bureau chief in Cairo, where he led CNN's coverage of the uprising against then-President Hosni Mubarak as well as the wider unrest in the Middle East. In 2009, CNN appointed Kevin Flower as their Jerusalem bureau chief and appointed Wedeman as that bureau's correspondent.
In October 2000, Wedeman was shot in the back while covering a clash between Palestinians and Israelis near the Karni border crossing between Gaza and Israel. Following the September 11 attacks, Wedeman was one of the first journalists to gain access to Iraq prior to the Iraq War. He was the only Western journalist granted access for an interview with Uday Hussein.
In August 2011, Wedeman was in Sabah, Libya, covering the 2011 civil war that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. Pursuing a lead which led him to an abandoned warehouse, he discovered thousands of barrels containing bags of a yellow powder labeled as radioactive. It was later confirmed by the IAEA that this powder was Yellowcake uranium.
Outside of the Middle East, Wedeman's has traveled to war zones in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Africa.
- With his team, Wedeman won the 1996 overseas press club Edward R. Murrow Award for Best TV interpretation or documentary on foreign affairs for the network’s coverage of Jordan's relationship with Israel after their peace treaty, as well as for its coverage of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
- He led the team that won an Emmy award for its 2000 coverage of the civil war in Sierra Leone. This coverage also earned him an Edward R. Murrow award.
- His team won the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for its coverage of the 2006 Lebanon War, where they stayed in Lebanon, documenting the experience of the Lebanese people.
- In 2010, he won the Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting Award at the sixth annual International Media Awards in London, hosted by the International Council for Press and Broadcasting
- In 2012, his team won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form for his reporting in "Breaking News Simulcast of Revolution in Egypt: President Mubarack Steps Down"
- "Ben Wedeman bio". CNN.
- "Miles George Wedeman" (PDF). Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- CNN January 3rd, 2009. Press release: CNN Appoints Kevin Flower as Bureau Chief and Ben Wedeman as Correspondent in Jerusalem
- "CNN Correspondent Ben Wedeman wounded in Gaza", CNN website, 31 October 2000
- "CNN Correspondent Wounded in Gaza", Committee to Protect Journalists, October 31, 2000.
- "CNN Finds Possible 'Yellowcake' Uranium in Libya", National Journal, September 22, 2011.
- "Syria - Life and Death in Aleppo: CNN's Ben Wedeman Reports from inside Aleppo 8-13-12" YouTube; accessed November 21, 2014.
- "Guardian Middle East editor wins peace-through-media award", The Guardian, 11 May 2010
- "Congratulations CNN and AC360!", CNN, 2 October 2012