Heather Murdock, 2017 winner
Starting in mid-October of 2016, VOA Middle East Correspondent Heather Murdock spent more than five months documenting the drive by coalition forces to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State militants.
This assignment has tested Murdock’s courage, her strength and her journalistic skill, and in each, she has proved one of the most capable war correspondents VOA’s News Center has had in decades.
Unlike many of our commercial colleagues, who could afford security teams, field producers, translators, and fixers, Murdock lived and worked in a conflict zone nearly solo—relying only on her regular fixer Halan Ibrahim Shekha. She did her own camera work, lugged her own gear and found her own sources. In doing so, she produced some of the most heartfelt news coverage of a conflict much of the world seems to be ignoring.
Through it all, Murdock was tireless. From mid-October to late December, she produced more than 40 web, TV and photo stories. She appeared multiple times on VOA and affiliate radio and TV programs. She never faltered, no matter how grim the story was, and she remained as calm and rock-steady as if she were reporting from her home base in Cairo.
A seasoned reporter
Murdock joined VOA as the Cairo Correspondent in January 2015. But for five years before that, she had been a freelancer working for VOA from such locations as Yemen, Ethiopia and Nigeria. In 2011, Murdock went to Cairo to help cover the Arab Spring uprising with then-correspondent Elizabeth Arrott.
Prior to becoming a freelancer, Murdock was an editor and reporter for the Yemen Times in Sana’a. She began her journalism career at a local TV station in Connecticut, and then with the Valley News in New Hampshire. She earned a degree in journalism and political science at the University of Connecticut.