There have been two new faces on AC360 during the Somalia coverage that deserve recognition. Here's some background information on Nima Elbagir and David McKenzie.
Nima Elbagir is an International Correspondent for CNN based in London, the global network’s European headquarters and second largest production hub.
Award-winning Elbagir joins CNN in February 2011 after a period from August 2010 freelancing for the network based in its Africa bureau in Johannesburg. The stories she covered during this time included the escalating violence against women in the Congo; Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of independence; the South Sudanese Referendum; and CNN’s coverage of the Hajj.
Prior to joining CNN, Sudanese-born Elbagir worked in various capacities for the UK’s Channel 4 for a number of years from 2005:she freelanced from Kabul for Channel 4 News; reported for the ‘Unreported World’ documentary strand; and both reported and presented for Channel 4 News and More4 News.
During this period, Elbagir’s exclusives included getting the first interview with the Aegis security company whistleblower on the Iraq ‘Trophy Videos’ (2005) ; interviewing Jacob Zuma in the run-up to his rape trial (2006); being the only Western journalist reporting from Mogadishu during the US bombing of Somalia (2007); and broadcasting the first televised evidence of Iranian weaponry smuggled to the Taliban (2009).
Elbagir began her journalism career as a stringer with Reuters in 2002 reporting from Sudan, and one of the first to provide footage from inside Darfur; while also filing material for the Economist, the FT and Radio France International. She stayed on with Reuters as a London-based Graduate Trainee through to 2005.
Elbagir has won two Foreign Press Association Awards - TV News Story of the Year and Journalist of the Year for a Channel 4 News piece on Somalia, both 2008; and has been nominated for numerous other Awards including the Amnesty Awards and the One World Broadcast Awards.
Fluent in English and Arabic, she holds a BSc. Hons in Philosophy from the London School of Economics.
David McKenzie is a correspondent for CNN International based in Nairobi, Kenya.
McKenzie has won international awards for his coverage of the African experience and has reported from across the continent for all of CNN’s platforms.
McKenzie was one of the first foreign correspondents to uncover the threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia. Together with the Nairobi team, he has patrolled the waters of Somalia with the US Navy, interviewed Somali pirates and sourced exclusive material from the country itself.
He was the first foreign reporter to gain access to Sudan’s controversial oil fields to report on alleged pollution, and has filmed numerous exclusives showing the untold stories of Africa.
Since joining CNN, McKenzie has interviewed many high-profile personalities and leaders including Nobel Prize winners Wangari Maathai and Desmond Tutu, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
In 2011, McKenzie investigated the plight of the mentally ill in Kenya for CNN’s documentary series World’s Untold Stories. The programme’s broadcast resulted in domestic and international human rights groups calling for government intervention. The matter was brought to the attention of the Kenyan government, who have called for change; and the documentary, ‘Locked Up and Forgotten’, won the Amnesty International Media Awards in the "International Television and Radio" category.
McKenzie was also part of CNN’s award-winning coverage of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, where he uncovered the heartbreaking affect on Haiti’s Universities and the religious battle between Voodoists and Christians.
An avid sports fan, McKenzie was a crucial part of CNN’s World Cup 2010 coverage as he travelled thousands of miles across South Africa in a Winnebago to take the pulse of the country. From the southernmost football pitch in Africa, to elephants playing soccer, McKenzie told the story of the World Cup from a unique vantage point.
A regular face on CNN’s flagship Africa programme ‘Inside Africa’, McKenzie has reported stories from across the continent for the show and has hosted ‘Inside Africa’ from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. He has also guest-hosted CNN’s film programme ‘The Screening Room’.
McKenzie frequently contributes to CNN’s ‘African Voices’ and ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, where he has highlighted some of Africa’s most intriguing personalities and business leaders.
Prior to moving into field work, he was based in New York as a freelance producer and writer for various international broadcasters and newsgathering organisations including ABC News, BBC and Reuters. He made his debut on air with reports for CNN International during the 2007 elections in Kenya and the early days of the subsequent unrest. Earlier in 2007, he also worked as a freelance producer for CNN Worldwide initiative CNN Heroes.
McKenzie joined CNN from UNICEF, where he served as a correspondent and producer with their Africa Services Unit. In that role, he reported from more than 30 countries in Africa, covering stories on the instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
McKenzie graduated from Duke University with degrees in Public Policy and Psychology and received a Masters in Journalism from New York University, where he was on a full scholarship (Broadcast and Knight Foundation Scholarship).