CAIRO (AP) — Vivian Salama, a television and print journalist who has reported on the Middle East for over a decade, has been named as Baghdad bureau chief for The Associated Press.
The appointment was announced Monday by Ian Phillips, AP’s Middle East news director based in Cairo.
Salama, 34, succeeds Adam Schreck, who is now based in Dubai and oversees AP coverage of the Gulf Arab countries as well as Iran. Salama will be the senior reporter and will lead a team of reporters, photographers, video journalists and support staff covering Iraq.
"The AP is one of the few international news organizations to have maintained a continuous presence in Iraq before and after the U.S. occupation," said John Daniszewski, vice president and senior managing editor for international news in New York. "With Iraq again front and center in the news, Salama is a serious student of the region and her expertise will inform AP’s reporting as the drama continues."
"She is an accomplished journalist who will write with authority about the challenges facing Iraq and who understands the power of visual storytelling," said Phillips.
Salama, who speaks Arabic and holds a master’s degree in Middle East and Islamic Studies from Columbia University, has covered major stories overseas including Egypt's historic presidential election, the resurgence of violence in Iraq and drone deaths in Yemen.
She begins her new position in Iraq at a critical time for the country as security unravels nearly three years after the U.S. military withdrew. Sunni militants have overrun several cities in northwestern Iraq near Syria, hoping to exploit the chaos to link territories they control on both sides of the border.
"The fast-moving events show how important Iraq remains, with impact on surrounding countries," said AP’s regional text editor Dan Perry, who oversees AP's in-depth reporting across the Middle East.
Salama, of New City, N.Y., moved to the Middle East in 2003 and was a freelancer for Associated Press Television News in Cairo from 2004 to 2006.
She went on to report in Pakistan, and opened the Bloomberg bureau in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Salama also has appeared as a commentator on BBC, the South African Broadcasting Corp., Voice of America and NPR, among others. She has also contributed to Newsweek, the Daily Beast and the Atlantic.
Previously, she worked as a producer for NBC and ABC News in New York.
In addition to her master’s degree from Columbia, Salama is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey and has lectured in journalism there. She also authored a lengthy study on jihadists’ use of media, contained in “Radicalization, Terrorism and Conflict,” which was published in 2013 by Cambridge Scholars.