Caryle Murphy | 1990 Courage in Journalism Award
The Washington Post, United States
Caryle Murphy spent 26 days secretly as the only American reporter in Kuwait before and during the invasion by Iraq before she managed to escape to Saudi Arabia on August 27, 1990.
Her article “26 days in Kuwait: Chaos, Fear and Tears”, in which she recounted her near-death journey, was published on Aug.29, 1990 on The Washington Post as a front page story.
In the article she wrote: “From the first confused moments when the sound of Iraqi artillery shells awakened me at 5:30 a.m. on August 2 until I escaped from Kuwait in a caravan of cars through the desert yesterday, I witnessed the destruction, fear, chaos and tears caused by an invasion that sought to wipe a small country off the face of the map.”
Murphy had been the Middle East correspondent for The Washington Post based at Cairo since October 1989. She joined the Post in 1976, when she started as a correspondent in South Africa. She also worked on the Metro news department in Alexandria, Virginia news bureau covering the federal court system and did some reporting for the National news before departing for Cairo.
Murphy received a bachelor’s degree in History from Trinity College in Washington D.C. and earned her master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
In her award acceptance speech she said: “For me, journalism is about being a voice for the truth and for the voiceless in our societies. It is about relentless pursuit of the facts and at the same time a willingness to acknowledge that people often see those facts from different angles. To be young and female in journalism is a challenge. And it behooves those who are in this situation to remember something attributed to one of our least loquacious leaders, the late Calvin Coolidge, ‘Nothing can take the place of persistence’.”
Since accepting the Courage Award, Murphy received an Edward R. Murrow Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Caryle Murphy is the first Courage in Journalism Award winner from the United States, followed by Donna Ferrato (1993), Christiane Amanpour (1994), Corinne Dufka (1997), Elizabeth Neuffer (1998), Anne Garrels (2003) and Jill Carroll (2006).