Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kevin Sites biography

Kevin Sites

Kevin Sites, an award-winning author and multi-media journalist, is scheduled to speak March 22 at Flagler College in St. Augustine. His biography is below:

Award-winning journalist and author Kevin Sites has spent the past decade covering global war and disaster for ABC, NBC, CNN and Yahoo! News. Dubbed by the trade press as the granddaddy of backpack journalists--Sites helped blaze the trail for intrepid reporters who work alone, carrying only a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit and transmit multimedia reports from the world's most dangerous places.

Sites is currently in residence at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA having been named a 2010 Nieman Foundation Journalism Fellow and is working on his second book for Harper Perennial to be released in 2010, The Things We Cannot Say: What the World’s Warriors Can’t Tell You About What They’ve Seen, Done or Failed to Do in War. Sites’s first book, In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars, shares his effort to put a human face on global conflict by reporting from every major war zone in one year.

As Yahoo!’s first news correspondent, Sites covered every major conflict in the world from 2005 to 2006. Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone reported stories that often were under-covered or overlooked by mainstream media for Yahoo!’s global audience of 400 million users. In response, the Los Angeles Press Club awarded Sites the esteemed 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism and Forbes Magazine listed him as one of 2007’s Web Celeb 25, “the biggest, brightest and most influential people on the web today.” Hot Zone’s site was designated by Time Magazine as one of 2006’s 50 Coolest Websites on the Internet. Hot Zone also won the prestigious Webby Award in 2007 for coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and was identified as the best online journalism site by both the National Press Club and The National Headliner Awards. In 2008 he was inducted into Northwestern University’s Medill Hall of Achievement.

Sites became a flashpoint of controversy in November 2004 when, as an NBC News correspondent, he videotaped the shooting of a wounded Iraqi insurgent in a Falluja mosque by a U.S. Marine—one of the biggest stories of the current Iraqi war. After the video’s airing, Sites was praised as a journalist willing to reveal the harsh realities of war and simultaneously vilified as a traitor to both the Marine unit that embedded him and his country. For his television and web coverage of the story, Sites was honored with the 2005 Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and was nominated for a national Emmy Award, his second such honor.

Sites’ controversial and award-winning war blog,, revolutionized the genre as one of the first blogs that combined text, digital images and audio to provide readers with an intimate, behind-the-lines look at the war in Iraq and its coverage by mainstream media. Wired Magazine named Sites the recipient of their RAVE Award in 2004—the first ever for blogging.

Sites’s coverage extends from the jungles of Colombia where he filmed U.S. anti-drug efforts, including coca spraying operations and the Colombian government’s Jungle Commando training, to ground zero in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where he witnessed the aftermath of the 2005 Southeast Asia tsunami. He was captured by Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militia and threatened with death while attempting to be the first western journalists to reach Tikrit during the initial invasion of Iraq. Sites spent nearly six months in Afghanistan covering the Northern and Eastern Alliance forces before and after the fall of the Taliban, where he shot some of the earliest video of the conflict’s ground combat, including the first American casualty—a journalist wounded during a Taliban mortar attack.

Sites’s career spans cable and network news as well as print journalism. As a producer for NBC News, he received an Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of the Kosovo war and was nominated for a national Emmy Award for contributions to a series on landmines. He has produced shows such as NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and ABC's This Week with David Brinkley. Sites has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, including Popular Science, BlackBook and The New Times, among others.

During a two-year sabbatical, Sites served as Broadcast Lecturer at California Polytechnic State University, Cal Poly, in San Luis Obispo and was named Distinguished Lecturer by the California Faculty Association. While at Cal Poly, he initiated a joint research project with Xybernaut Inc. to modify wearable computers for solo digital reporting.

A native of Geneva, Ohio, Sites holds a Master's Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. When not on assignment, he lives in Southern California.

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