Engel at the Peabody Award, May 2015
September 16, 1973 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Title||NBC News Chief foreign correspondent|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Forrest (May 2015–present)|
Richard Engel (born September 16, 1973) is an American journalist and author who is NBC News' chief foreign correspondent. He was assigned to that position on April 18, 2008, after being the network's Middle East correspondent and Beirut Bureau chief. Engel was the first broadcast journalist recipient of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his report "War Zone Diary".
Prior to joining NBC News in May 2003, he covered the start of the 2003 war in Iraq from Baghdad for ABC News as a freelance journalist. He speaks and reads Arabic fluently and is also fluent in Italian and Spanish. Engel wrote the book A Fist in the Hornet's Nest, published in 2004, about his experience covering the Iraq War from Baghdad. His newest book, War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq, published in June 2008, picks up where his last book left off.
Engel grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. He has an older brother who is a cardiologist. His father, Peter, a former Goldman Sachs financier, and mother Nina, who ran an antiques store, feared for their son's future prospects because of his dyslexia. His mother is of Swedish descent and his father is of Jewish descent.
Engel attended the Riverdale Country School, a highly competitive college-prep school in New York City, and later went to Stanford University, where he occasionally wrote for The Stanford Daily. He spent one summer as an unpaid intern at CNN Business News in New York City. He graduated from Stanford in 1996 with a B.A. in International Relations.
After graduating from Stanford, Engel left for Cairo, feeling the region was where the next big story would erupt. He attributed his attraction to journalism as "the prospect of learning about new subjects and having the privilege of riding the train of history rather than watching it pass". He first lived in a ramshackle seven-story walk-up, learned Egyptian Arabic and worked as a freelance reporter in Cairo for four years.
Engel worked as the Middle East correspondent for "The World", a joint production of BBC World Service, Public Radio International (PRI) and WGBH-Boston radio from 2001-2003. He has also reported for USA Today, Reuters, AFP and Jane's Defense Weekly.
Engel worked for ABC News as a freelance journalist during the initial invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces. Engel continued his coverage of the Iraq war in Baghdad as NBC's primary Iraq correspondent.
In May 2006, he assumed his role as Senior Middle East Correspondent and Beirut Bureau Chief. During this time he covered the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He filed a number of reports from Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.
In April 2008, he became Chief Foreign Correspondent of NBC News. In May 2008, Engel interviewed U.S. President George W. Bush, largely about his speech to the Israeli Knesset. The interview also focused on Iran's empowerment as a result of the war in Iraq and how to counteract Iran's influence in the region.
In 2011, Engel reported, at times through tear gas, on the Egyptian revolution. He also covered the Libyan Civil War, where he was nearly shot in Benghazi. The same year he toured and reported on the city of Mogadishu, Somalia, for a segment titled "The World's Most Dangerous City", for which he would receive a News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination.
More recently, Engel's coverage included the Israel-Gaza conflict of 2012, the continued violence stemming from the revolution in Syria and its consequent civil war, and the political transition of Egypt following the election of President Mohamed Morsi in June 2012.
While many media outlets pulled their journalists out of Iraq shortly after shelling began in March 2003, Engel stayed, and was subsequently one of the only Western journalists in the country. He was the only American television correspondent to remain in Baghdad for the entire war.
His constant presence ensured his front seat to the "train of history" crashing through the Middle East. He covered every major milestone of the war, including the first free Iraqi election and the capture, trial, and execution of Saddam Hussein.
He covered the war from several perspectives by gaining and maintaining frequent access to U.S. military commanders, Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias, and Iraqi families. He frequently traveled outside Iraq's Green Zone, the fortified international zone in central Baghdad, to report on the genuine state of Iraqi life.
At times he found himself "dressed as a blue target" as a foreign journalist in Iraq. He survived kidnapping attempts, bombings, IED attacks, and ambushes. He spent years covering what he often describes as one of the most important stories of his generation, the Iraq War. He explains the conflict as occurring in six stages, or as six separate wars:
- Shock and Awe, the U.S. invasion of Iraq
- Civil war
- U.S. troop surge, the influx of 30,000 troops in 2007
- Iraq exit strategy
Based on his extensive knowledge developed covering the conflict, Engel received a request from the Bush administration to meet with President George W. Bush at the White House to discuss Iraq and Mideast policy. Engel and Bush met privately in February 2007.
Engel's award-winning documentary, War Zone Diary, chronicled his time in Iraq. The one-hour documentary, compiled from his personal video journal, gave a rare and intimate account of the everyday realities of covering the war.
War in Afghanistan
Engel frequently traveled to Afghanistan to report on the situation between U.S. forces, the Afghani people, and the Taliban. He often traveled to the Korengal Valley, otherwise known as the "valley of death", one of the most dangerous outposts in Afghanistan.
Engel reported on Firebase Restrepo and the soldiers of Viper Company stationed in the Korengal. His televised reports revealed the fierce firefights taking place there between U.S. soldiers and the opposing Taliban forces. He produced "Tip of the Spear", a series of NBC reports that focused attention on the hardships and dangers faced by American soldiers. Engel won a 2008 George Foster Peabody award for his report. His coverage featured on the challenges of free elections in Afghanistan and the disruptions democracy often faced in the country.
Engel reported extensively on the Arab Spring movement. He followed the uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Yemen. His understanding of the Middle East and profound awareness of its many complexities provided great depth to his reporting on the unrest in the region. In 2012, he was awarded the Alfred I. du-Pont-Columbia Award for his outstanding breaking news coverage of the uprisings.
In Egypt, Engel often reported from Tahrir Square, interviewing protestors while standing with them in the streets. He was in Tahrir Square when President Hosni Mubarak surrendered power to the Egyptian military. His reporting exposed the integral role Egyptian labor strikes and worker protests played in the coup against Mubarak.
Engel reported on the revolution in Libya from the frontlines. He spent months traveling from rebel commanded areas in Benghazi to other various rebel strongholds. In March 2011 he was caught in an artillery strike as he interviewed fighters during an attempted rebel advancement towards former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces outside the city of Ajdabiya.
He repeatedly traveled into Syria, traveling with rebel militias and the Free Syrian Army. He reported on the advances made by rebel fighters within the country as well as the mass defections from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government army.
Kidnapping in Syria
On December 13, 2012, Engel and four crew members, Aziz Akyavas, John Kooistra, Ghazi Balkiz, and Ian Rivers, were abducted in Syria. They were moved to various locations throughout the time they were held captive and were psychologically tortured. Engel and his crew said they believed that a Shabiha group loyal to al-Assad were behind the abduction, and that the crew was freed by the Ahrar ash-Sham group five days later.
According to Jamie Dettmer, writing in The Daily Beast, this narrative was later questioned by unnamed sources, who believed Engel and his team had been kidnapped by rogue rebel groups opposed to the Assad regime.
NBC News had requested a news blackout out of concern for Engel and his crew's safety. On December 18 it was reported by the U.S. media that they had been kidnapped but were released physically unharmed.
Engel recounted his terrifying experience in an editorial, "The Hostage", which appeared in the April 2013 edition of Vanity Fair.
- 2006, RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award
- 2006, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast
- 2007, Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism
- 2008, Peabody Award, for his coverage of the Viper Company, a remote U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan
- 2008, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award
- 2008, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast
- 2008, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Live Coverage of a Breaking News Story – Long Form
- 2008, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Best Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast
- 2009, George Foster Peabody Award
- 2009, Edward R. Murrow Award
- 2009, Society of Professional Journalism Award
- 2009, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast
- 2010, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Best Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast
- 2010, News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis
- 2010, Gracie Award
- 2010, OPC David Kaplan Award for spot news reporting for a series of three reports from Afghanistan
- 2011, David Bloom Award, Radio and Television Correspondents' Association, for Excellence in Enterprise Reporting
- 2011, Daniel Pearl Award
- 2011, Overseas Press Club Award
- 2012, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award
- 2013, "Tex McCrary Award for Journalism Excellence, Congressional Medal of Honor Society"
Engel was married to a fellow Stanford student; the couple divorced in 2005.
In May 2015, Engel married producer Mary Forrest.
- "Engel Upped at NBC". TVNewser. April 18, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- "About us: Richard Engel - NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent". NBC News. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "Seven-Pakistani journalists honoured at Newseum memorial re-dedication". The Express Tribune. May 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
- Kurtz, Howard (October 26, 2006). "In Iraq, Journalist Richard Engel Sticks to the Story". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Kurtz, Howard (June 10, 2008). "A Reporter's View From The War Zone". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "High Achieving Dyslexics: Richard Engel". Lizditz.typepad.com. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Engel, Richard (2004). A Fist in the Hornet's Nest. New York: Hyperion. p. Dedication.
- Engel, Richard "War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq", November 13, 2012; "My mother is Swedish, born in Gottberg" | "So you speak Arabic, live in the Middle East, Are you Jewish? .... Half I said. My father is Jewish, my mother is not."
- Engel's educational background
- Engel, Richard (2004). A Fist in the Hornet's Nest. New York: Hyperion. p. 14.
- "Richard Engel". NBC News.
- Meyers, Jessica. "From Baghdad to Beirut". American Journalism Review.
- "Nightly News". NBC News.
- "Women Take A Stand in Afghan Elections". NBC News.
- Rastogi, Nina. "NBC's Richard Engel: Star Out of Cairo". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Richard Engel: Covering War for a Decade". NPR.
- "Nominees for the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards Announced by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". The Emmy Awards.
- "World News". NBC News.
- "Nightly News". NBC News.
- "Rock Center". NBC News.
- "Special Program: Journalists Memorial Rededication Ceremony".
- "Baghdad Lad".
- Engel, Richard (2008). War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 177.
- action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=1694786&m=1694787 "Richard Engel". Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Book Discussion on War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq". http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/205837-5.
- Engel, Richard (2008). War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 157.
- "C-Span". http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/205837-5.
- "The Daily Show". June 12, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Engel, Richard (2008). War Zone Diary: My Five Years in Iraq. 2008: Simon & Schuster.
- Minzesheimer, Bob (June 5, 2008). "USA Today".
- "NBC News" (PDF). NBC News. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Columbia Journalism School". Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "NBC News". NBC.
- "Nightly News". NBC News.
- "Staff Picks". Washington Post.
- "Richard Engel Reports: Tip of the Spear". Peabody Awards. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Will Elecion Help Women in Afghanistan?". NBC News.
- "Columbia Journalism School" (PDF). Columbia Journalism School. December 20, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Egyptians Fear Decades of Muslim Brotherhood Rule, Warn Morsi is No Friend to US". NBC News.
- Mirkinson, Jack (February 11, 2011). "Richard Engel Draws Praise for Egypt Coverage". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Mirkinson, Jack (August 23, 2011). "Libya Media Swarm into Gaddafi Compound". Huffington Post.
- Mirkinson, Jack (March 23, 2011). "Richard Engel Under Fire in Libya". Huffington Post.
- "Nightly News". NBC News.
- "Myth vs Truth in the Syrian Conflict". NBC News.
- Stelter, Brian; Sebnem Arsu; Bill Carter (December 19, 2012). "Richard Engel of NBC Is Freed in Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Thomas Whittle (December 17, 2012). "Turkish reporter for NBC missing in Syria: report". NZ Week. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- John Cook (December 17, 2012). "Richard Engel is Missing in Syria; NBC News Enforces News Blackout". Gawker. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- Kelley, Michael (December 17, 2012). "NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has Not checked in to Network in days". Business Insider. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "Richard Engel's kidnapping - a behind the scenes look", thedailybeast.com, December 22, 2012; accessed August 21, 2014.
- Morello, Carol; Wilgoren, Debbi; Ramadan, Ahmed (2012-12-18). "NBC correspondent Richard Engel and crew freed in Syria". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "Fourth member of kidnapped NBC team freed in Syria". Times of Israel. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- Engel, Richard. "The Hostage". Vanity Fair.
- NBC retracts story of Engel kidnap
- Ryan, Connor. "Richard Engel, NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent, to Deliver 2013 Commencement Address". Fordham University.
- "The Undergraduate Journal of the Social Sciences Interview Series Richard Engel" (PDF). USMA.
- "Addition to Winners' CRichard Engel to speak on Wednesday evening". Columbia Journalism School.
- "2013 New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell and Circle of Honor Dinner". Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
- Blumm, K. C. (May 30, 2015). "NBC's Richard Engel Marries 'Longtime Love' Mary Forrest". People. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- NBC News profile of Engel
- Richard Engel on Twitter
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Richard Engel at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Richard Engel in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Richard Engel at the Notable Names Database