Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

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Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson at the 69th Annual Peabody Awards for Covering Afghanistan (cropped).jpg
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Occupation Journalist

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (/sˈrə sɑːrˈhɑːdi ˈnɛlsən/) is an American journalist. She directs the National Public Radio (NPR) bureau in Berlin.[1]

Education and personal life[edit]

Nelson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and received her undergraduate degree from University of Maryland, College Park, College of Journalism. She has a son with her journalist husband, Erik Nelson. She speaks Persian, Dari, and German in addition to her native English. [1]


Nelson began her career at the 14,000-circulation daily newspaper in Maryland called the The Star Democrat in 1985. After working at other newspapers in New York and Virginia, she served three years as editor and reporter at Newsday in New York. She shared the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash. She subsequently joined the Los Angeles Times as a reporter, and following the September 11 attacks went on extended assignment in Iran and Afghanistan.[1]

From 2002 to 2005, she worked as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief. Nelson has also worked for The Orange County Register covering California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[1]


Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson at the 69th Annual Peabody Awards for Covering Afghanistan

Nelson joined NPR in 2006, after more than twenty years as a newspaper reporter. She was the bureau chief for NPR's Afghanistan bureau when it opened in 2006. Her reports are featured on several NPR programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.[1] For her coverage of Afghanistan, Nelson received a Peabody Award in 2010 from NPR's permanent bureau in Kabul.[2] In 2006, she founded the bureau, which was the first permanent presence in Afghanistan for a U.S. broadcast network. The award recognized Nelson's efforts over the previous year, which included a series on Afghan citizens turning to drugs to escape everyday miseries and the country's limited ability to offer rehabilitation; the story of determined girls breaking societal taboos and facing dangers to pursue an education; and a detailed account of how U.S. Marines struggle to establish trust with locals in order to combat the Taliban. Peabody judges concluded that "No reporter in any medium gives us a better sense of the variety of life inside Afghanistan."

In June 2010, Nelson was assigned to cover the Arab World from NPR's Cairo, Egypt, bureau. [3] She also received the Gracie Award and Overseas Press Club Award in 2010.[1] In 2011, she received the 59th Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for her courageous journalism, and was the first non-newspaper journalist to receive the award. She also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. Nelson's reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Arab Spring uprisings, and subsequent developments in the Middle East were credited for her receiving these honors. She now works out of the Berlin bureau. [4][1]


External links[edit]