McGreal is a foreign correspondent for The Guardian who has covered Africa, the Middle East and Central America. He is now based in the US. He has won a series of awards for his coverage of Africa, Israel and the U.S. A former merchant seaman, he began his career in journalism in 1982 with BBC local radio. He worked as a producer at the BBC World Service in London before moving to Latin America in 1985 where he was a reporter on the Daily Journal in Venezuela and a correspondent for the BBC.
In 1987 McGreal moved to Mexico City to cover Mexico and Central America for the BBC and, later, The Independent. In 1990, he became The Independent on Sunday's first South Africa correspondent following the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. In 1992 he joined The Guardian and remained based in Johannesburg. For the next decade, McGreal travelled widely in Africa, sometimes covering conflicts including the civil war in Angola, the Rwandan genocide, the invasion of Zaire and fall of Mobutu Sese Seko, and military rule in Nigeria. He won the 1995 Amnesty International national print award for an article about the organisers of the Rwandan genocide.
He reported on the transition from apartheid in South Africa and the consequences of Thabo Mbeki's denial that HIV causes AIDS. McGreal won the 2002 James Cameron Prize for his coverage of Africa and "work as a journalist that has combined moral vision and professional integrity". The judges praised his "even-handed reporting and analysis of sub-Saharan Africa - without allowing his judgment to be affected by sentimentality or historical guilt".
McGreal became The Guardian's Jerusalem correspondent in 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian uprising. In 2004 he won the Martha Gellhorn Award (London), for reporting of Israel & Palestinian territories that "penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth".
In 2006, McGreal returned to South Africa. He made repeated undercover trips to Zimbabwe to report on the political violence of President Robert Mugabe's regime. He was runner up in the 2006 British Media Award by the Foreign Press Association in London for his Zimbabwe coverage. In 2009 he was appointed The Guardian's Washington correspondent. He was runner up in the Foreign Press Association award for Print/Web Feature Story of the Year for a series retracing route of The Grapes of Wrath to report on economic depression in modern America. He has continued to report from the Middle East at times, including the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions in 2011.
- 1995: Amnesty International print reporter of the year for reporting of Rwandan genocide.
- 1996: Foreign Press Association, London. Runner up British Media Award for Africa coverage
- 2002: James Cameron prize, London, for Africa coverage for "work as a journalist that has combined moral vision and professional integrity".
- 2004: Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, London, for reporting of Israel & Palestinian territories that "penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth".
- 2006: Foreign Press Association, London. Runner up British Media Award for Zimbabwe coverage
- 2009: Foreign Press Association, Runner Up, Print/Web Feature Story of the Year for a series retracing route of "Grapes of Wrath" to report on economic depression in modern America
He has two sons.
- "Chris McGreal". The Guardian. London. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Awards for Guardian journalists". London: The Guardian. 26 November 2002.
- "The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism". Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Awards for Guardian Journalists". London: The Guardian. 26 November 2002.
- "The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism".