The Michael Kelly Award

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David Rohde

In a riveting five-part series in The New York Times, David Rohde described how he and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped by the Taliban outside Kabul and held for seven months before he and one of his colleagues escaped on foot to a Pakistani military base. Rohde was initially reluctant to write about his experience, telling his editors, “I don’t want to make myself look like a hero. I am not a hero.” But he bravely used his captivity to illuminate for readers the world and minds of terrorists who repeatedly threatened to behead him and to provide insights into what Rohde termed a “Taliban mini-state” in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

David Rohde has been a reporter in investigative news at The New York Times since August 2005. In addition to working on investigative projects, he also covered breaking stories for the foreign desk during that period in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2007 Musharraf state of emergency and the 2008 Pakistani national elections. From July 2002 until he joined the investigations group, Rohde served as the newspaper’s South Asia co-bureau chief in New Delhi, covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. He also covered the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, the 2002 Israeli incursion into the West Bank, the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan and the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo for the foreign desk. Rohde joined The New York Times in October 1996. From 1994 to 1996, Rohde was The Christian Science Monitor‘s Eastern Europe Correspondent and covered the war in Bosnia. From 1993 to 1994, he worked as a suburban correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer. From 1991 to 1992, he covered the failed Soviet coup, elections in Syria and May Day celebrations in Cuba. He began his career as a production secretary at ABC News in 1990.

In 2009, Rohde was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for coverage of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He won the 2009 Polk Award for foreign reporting and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) Distinguished Writing Award for Nondeadline Writing for “Held by the Taliban,” a five-part, first-person account of his kidnapping ordeal in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2001 he received a Society of the Silurians award for an investigative series he co-wrote on the poor quality of court-appointed lawyers for the poor in New York City. In 1996, a series of articles that Rohde wrote for The Christian Science Monitor on the mass execution of 7,000 Bosnian Muslims following the fall of the town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for foreign reporting. The series also received George Polk, Livingston, Sigma Delta Chi, Overseas Press Club, Paul Tobenkin and Investigative Reporters and Editors awards. Rohde is the author of Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1997). Born on Aug. 7, 1967, Rohde grew up in New England and is a graduate of Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Me., and Brown University in Providence, R.I.

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