The Michael Kelly Award

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Dionne Searcey


As West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, Dionne Searcey’s coverage of the havoc wreaked by the terrorist group Boko Haram has been compelling, enterprising, and brave. Searcey told the stories of girls sent by Boko Haram on suicide missions with explosives strapped to their chests. She described how rape victims of Boko Haram escaped captivity only to be violated by Nigerian soldiers who were supposed to protect them. She revealed how the Nigerian military, in its zeal to eradicate Boko Haram, has massacred scores of innocent civilians. Her coverage has caused her to be detained and threatened by Nigerian authorities, but it has also won her widespread praise. Said Mausi Segun, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, “Dionne’s reporting on Nigeria’s Boko Haram conflict has been nothing but phenomenal.”



Dionne Searcey is the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times. Searcey, 46, joined The Times as an economics writer in 2014. Before joining The Times, Searcey spent nine years at The Wall Street Journal, where she was an investigative reporter and also covered national legal affairs and the telecom industry. Prior to that she covered politics at Newsday, the statehouse and education beats at The Seattle Times and crime for The Chicago Tribune and the City News Bureau of Chicago. She has covered a range of topics, including victims of gang warfare in Chicago and checkpoint killings of civilians in Iraq. She is now covering social, political, and economic issues in 25 countries in West and Central Africa. Searcey was raised in Wymore, Neb., and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Girls Survived.

They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces

‘They Told Us They Were Here to Help Us.’ Then Came Slaughter.

Fleeing Boko Haram, Thousands Cling to a Road to Nowhere

Beneath Mask of Normal Nigerian Life, Young Lives Scarred by Boko Haram

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