Sam Kiley: Story of Kenyan-Born Journalist Working at CNN

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    A Collage of CNN offices and Abu Dhabi-based International Correspondent, Sam Kiley
  • On Thursday, May 13, internationally famed media company Cable News Network (CNN) announced that it had poached a renowned journalist, Larry Madowo.

    CNN had raided the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of its North America correspondent, where he would join the station as a Nairobi-based correspondent.

    This would see Madowo add his name to the short list of Kenyan journalists who have worked for CNN; Jeff Koinange, Zain Verjee and the late Soni Mathu. He took to social media to express his happiness.

    "I've long admired CNN International's award-winning coverage, and I'm honored to be joining such a talented team," he stated.

    However, there was another Kenyan-born journalist already working for the giant news network and serves in a similar capacity as Larry's new role. His name is Sam Kiley.

    An Image of CNN Senior International Correspondent, Abu Dhabi, Sam Kiley

    Kiley was born in Nairobi, Kenya on April 4, 1964. He is a senior international correspondent based in the network's Abu Dhabi bureau. 

    His family moved back to the United Kingdom (UK), where he spent most of his childhood. Riley joined Eastbourne Collage in South England for his education.

    He kicked off his journalism career at the Johannesburg Star before returning to London, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.

    In between Eastbourne and Oxford, he was commissioned into the Gurkhas Regiment of the British Army, but tendered his resignation halfway through university.
    In 1987, he joined The Times Newspaper as an education reporter before switching  to the Sunday Times as its South-Coast correspondent in America. Kiley moved back to The Times and to Nairobi serving as its Africa correspondent.

    Kiley's coverage of the fall of the President of Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo), Mobutu Sese Seko, earned him the Foreign Correspondent of the Year award by Granada Television. He was also promoted to Bureau Chief, South Africa.

    Later, he was transferred to Jerusalem, the Middle East, in the same capacity. After a two-year stint, he joined the Evening Standard before moving to Channel 4.

    In 2003, Kiley, his cameraman and Iraqi nationals who were helping him cover a story were kidnapped and taken to the desert. He was termed lucky after he narrowly escaped execution on foreign soil.

     He has also worked with Sky One and BBC 2 in 2005 and 2006 respectively before joining Sky News as a security editor in 2010. 

    In 2013, history repeated itself when he narrowly escaped while on an assignment. While filming in Cairo, Egypt, his cameraman, Mike Deane, lost his life after he was shot.

    Kiley joined CNN on November 27, as a senior international correspondent.

    Some of his notable works include Truth and Lies in Baghdad, USA Unsolved, Guns for Hire, The General's War and Journey Through Jordan.

    Larry Madowo interviews former UK PM Gordon Brown on CNN
    An image of CCN's Larry Madowo interviewing the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday 24 August.
    Larry Madowo