Ian Pannell | Biography

Quick Wiki

  • Full Name Ian Pannell
  • Occupation Journalist, Foreign Correspondent
  • Nationality British
  • Birthplace London, England, UK
Senior Foreign Correspondent for ABC News

Ian Pannell | Biography

Pannell's report on the Hezbollah and Israel conflict from Cairo won him the first 'Emmy Award'

As the South Asia Correspondent of BBC News, Ian Pannell covered focused reporting Afghanistan's democratic state after the Taliban rule, from 2008 to 2011. Again, in August 2021, he traveled to Kabul in Afghanistan to cover the nation's condition after the Afghani President fled and the Taliban took control of the country. He also conducted the initial reporting and exclusive analysis of the country's years-long fight against the Taliban.

Ian Pannell is a multiple-time 'Emmy Award' winning journalist, currently working as a Senior Foreign Correspondent at ABC News.

Who is Ian Pannell?

Pannell began gaining prominence as a journalist reporting news from North America and the Middle East.

Before that, he worked at the BBC radio from 1991 to 2002. He was then appointed as the Washington Correspondent of the BBC News. In 2005, he became the Middle East Correspondent of the network and was stationed at Cairo to cover Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. His coverage of the Israeli conflict as a middle-east correspondent won him an 'International Emmy Award.' He held the position until 2008.

From 2008 to 2011, Pannell worked as the South Asia Correspondent and focused on reporting Afghanistan's democratic state after the Taliban rule. In 2011, he was appointed to cover the Syrian Armed Conflict as the network's Foreign Correspondent. He successfully brought numerous Syrian war incidents to the light of the international world, including the undergrounded children and the Aleppo school attack.

Hence, for his journalistic contribution during the Syrian conflict, he won several accolades, including an 'Emmy Award,' a 'Peabody Award,' the 2013 'Italian Marcho Luchetta International Press Award,' a 'David Bloom Prize,' and also the 'Royal Television Society Award.'

Eventually, in 2014, he became the network's International Correspondent. He covered global news such as the conflict between Hamas and Israel, the earthquake in Nepal, and the migrant crisis in Europe and Asia.

He soon garnered another 'Emmy Award' covering the Exodus Refugee Immigrants and the 'David Bloom Award.' In 2016, he received the 'James Cameron Memorial Award for Foreign Correspondents' for excellence journalism.

Then, in 2017, Pannell left BBC and joined ABC News as a Senior Foreign Correspondent from London. His prominent coverage for the ABC includes the Pandemic in Asia. He is the one covering Afghanistan's situation after the Taliban took over the country in August 2021 from Kabul.

Early Career

Pannell began his career in journalism as a reporter at the BBC Radio Leicester in 1991. He joined BBC Network 5 Live in 1994 in London. He was then transferred to Radio 1 Newsbeat, followed by BBC Radio 4's World at OnePM, and World This Weekend. He gained 11 years of experience at BBC Radio from 1991 to 2002, before moving to BBC News television network. 

BBC News

In 2002, Pannell moved to the United States as the Washington Correspondent for BBC News. He initially corresponded to American domestic and foreign affairs for BBC Breakfast News and Morning Radio. Most importantly, he was responsible for reporting the Bush administration on dealing with terrorism post 9/11 attack and international events.

In 2005 he was appointed as the Middle East Correspondent, and Pannell left for Cairo to cover the entire region, including Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. He was eventually transferred in 2008, but Pannell returned to report Middle East News in 2010 due to the rising tensions between Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria.

Pannell's report on the Hezbollah and Israel conflict, which he reported while living in Cairo, won him an 'International Emmy Award.'

Accordingly, in 2008, Pannell became South Asia Correspondent and primarily reported on Afghanistan's settlement with democracy and the nation's eminent struggle against the Taliban Rule. It was his second time covering the Afghanistan-Taliban news. His coverage was in 2001 when the Taliban fled Afghanistan, and Pannell was of the first international reporters to land Kabul and report the ground situation.

As a South Asia correspondent, his coverage of Afghanistan and Taliban earned him a nomination for the 'Royal Television Society's (RTS)' 'Television Reporter of the Year', along with 'Sony's Radio Reporter of the Year Award.'


In 2011, Pannell's focus on the Middle East shifted to Syria. He was there till 2014 making frequent visits to the rebel-occupied region and reporting on the major stories of the Syrian Conflict.

Initially, his team's visas were rejected by the Syrian authorities. However, it was later approved for neutral international reporting. He successfully collected stories and news from both sides of the conflict during his over four year's coverage.

Among his notable contribution was the February 2013 exposure, where he conducted an exclusive report on the children living underground in deplorable conditions to avoid the brunt of the violence.

Further, in July 2014, he was the first international correspondent to report on the Aleppo school attack of April 2014. The Syrian government's air attack in the northern city killed at least 18 people, including ten children.

Pannell received the 'Royal Television Society Award' for 'International News Coverage,' for his journalistic contribution to the Syrian Armed Conflict. He was also honored with the 2013 'Italian Marcho Luchetta International Press Award' and the American 'David Bloom Prize' for 'Courage and Excellence in Enterprise Reporting.'

In 2013, he won the 'Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story' at the '34th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.' And in 2014, he received a 'Peabody Award' with the special citation of 'without equal,' along with the 2014 'Emmy Awards' under the category of 'Continuing Coverage Newscast' and the ‘2014 Prix Bayeux Calvados Awards' for his coverage of the Aleppo school attack.

International Correspondent

Eventually, in 2014, he was promoted to the position of BBC's International Correspondent.

Pannell's reporting as an international correspondent included the news from Crimea, Ukraine, Gaza during the Hamas-Israel war and Nepal after the earthquake, followed by Europe and Asia's migration crisis.

He also enclosed impoverished, homeless families, the increase of heroin addiction, child prostitution in the United States, and the gun violence in Chicago. Pannell conducted an independent reporting in Latin America on Colombia's Cocaine War.

Subsequently, in 2016 Pannell received another 'Emmy Award' for his work on Exodus Refugee Immigration. In addition, his covering of Colombia's Cocaine War won him another, 'David Bloom Award.' In 2016, he was honored with the 'James Cameron Memorial Award for Foreign Correspondents.' 

ABC News

In 2017, Pannell joined ABC News, London, as the Senior Foreign Correspondent. His prominent work for the ABC was the coverage on the pandemic from its first hit in March 2020. He traveled to China for in-person reporting. He also published an excerpt on his first visit after returning to London. 

In August 2021, he traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to cover the nation's condition after the Afghani President fled and the Taliban took control of the country. He conducted the initial reporting and exclusive analysis of the country's years-long fight against the Taliban.

Pannell's opening line of his initial reporting after landing in Kabul on 15 August 2021 was, "I have to say I was -- been covering this war for 20 years. I was here on the day that the Taliban fled. And then it was a mood of celebration, of liberation, women throwing back the burqa, men cutting off their beards, and a sense of hope and optimism about the future. Now the streets are dead. We hear the sound of helicopters overhead. But, otherwise, there's a real climate here of fear and dread about what the future holds."

Personal Life

Pannell is married and has three sons. His eldest son Jack is an honor graduate from the University of Warwick. His second son has been named Charlie and the youngest Alfie.

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