The ABC has confirmed that video journalist Sophie McNeill, has been appointed to the role of Middle East Correspondent. based in Jerusalem.
Sophie has had a long connection to the Middle East. Between 2006 and 2010 she lived in Jerusalem and Beirut and reported from both for SBS Dateline. She won a Walkley Award for her work on the program.
McNeill joined the ABC in 2011, working first as a reporter and then as a presenter of Triple J’s current affairs program Hack. She later moved on to become a reporter/producer on Foreign Correspondent.
As part of the recent budget cuts at the ABC, a number of foreign bureau’s will no longer have dedicated camera operators meaning journalists will now be required to do their own camera work.
ABC Head of Newsgathering Craig McMurtrie said: “Jerusalem will become a Video Journalist bureau later this year and Sophie is exceptionally qualified for the role. Her work as a filmmaker is impressive.”
McNeill replaces Hayden Cooper, who returns to Australia after a posting which saw him win two Walkley Awards, for his coverage of Gaza and for his reporting on the jailing of Al Jazeera reporter Peter Greste, as well as a Lowy Institute Media Award.
“Hayden’s work following the imprisonment and trials of Peter Greste in Egypt was first-rate journalism,” said McMurtrie.