Hannah Allam, the Iraq correspondent, came to the bureau in December 2003 after four years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota. In St. Paul, she covered courts, the suburbs, terrorism and reaction to the war in Iraq. In summer 2003, she spent two months in Baghdad, where she obtained one of the first and most extensive interviews with Iraqi and foreign insurgents. Allam has lived in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1999, and interned at The Washington Post, The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. She speaks French and conversational Arabic.
Baghdad Bureau Chief Hannah Allam is "a rare combination of energy, intelligence, compassion and coolness under fire," her nomination for Journalism Excellence said. "And she's one hell of a reporter."
Allam, 27, directs the work of journalists in the most dangerous war zone in the world. She oversees Iraqi translators and drivers, she coordinates security and she goes out on assignments. She was on a bus that was bombed, she's gone behind enemy lines, commandeered an ambulance, and saved the life of her Iraqi translator by spiriting her out of the country after family members were slain execution-style. Allam was awarded this month Knight Ridder's Journalism Excellence Award. Earlier this year she received the Journalist of the Year Award from The National Association of Black Journalists.