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NBC snags Baghdad reporter Engel

May 01, 2003|Elizabeth Jensen

Richard Engel, a freelance journalist who became ABC's constant on-air presence from Baghdad during the Iraq war after the network's own reporters left for safety reasons, has parlayed his high-profile work into a full-time job -- but for NBC.

Both networks made him offers, but money wasn't a factor, Engel, 29, said Wednesday.

"NBC seems like a network that is growing and flourishing, and it helps that they're in first place," he said. In addition, the network's MSNBC cable channel "means there's more time to be on air. If you break a story in the middle of the day, you don't have to wait for the nightly newscast."

Engel, who previously worked for public radio's "The World" and has written for Reuters and USA Today, said aspirations of being a TV correspondent were part of what led him to the Middle East after his graduation from Stanford University in 1996.

He will initially work out of NBC's Baghdad bureau but will also cover assignments throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. ABC News said it wished him well.

-- Elizabeth Jensen

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