Kelly Golnoush Niknejad
Topics of Interest: Iran-Western relations, DP and Culture in Iran
Countries/Regions of Interest: Iran-EU, Iran-US, Iranian Diaspora
List of Publications
"This is how Tehran Bureau covers Iran"
30 September 2014, Columbia Journalism Review
"How to Cover a Paranoid Regime from Your Laptop"
14 August 2009, Foreign Policy
"The Virtual Iran Beat"
12 June 2009, Nieman Report
Niknejad is an award-winning journalist and recognized pioneer in new media. She launched TehranBureau.com in 2008. Its coverage of the Iranian presidential election the following year earned it a huge international following, and a partnership with PBS Frontline. Their editorial partnership on a documentary, "A Death in Tehran," won an Emmy for continuing coverage of a news story. Since 2013, the Tehran Bureau has been hosted by The Guardian newspaper in London.
Niknejad is the inaugural recipient of the Innovator Award from Columbia Journalism School for "inspiring, creating, developing, or implementing new ideas that further the cause of journalism.” For its centennial, Columbia Journalism School selected Tehran Bureau's coverage of "Modern Iran" as one of "50 Great Stories" produced by alumni in the 100-year history of the school. The Daily Beast has named her one of "17 people who are changing the world" through their editing, blogging, reporting, videos, and Twitter feeds. She is also a co-recipient of Denmark's Victor prize for critical journalism.
Born in Iran, Niknejad moved to the United States in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war to pursue her studies. She holds a BA in political science and writing and a law degree with an international and European focus. She has two master's degrees in journalism from Columbia University, the first an MS with a focus on newspapers, and an MA specializing in politics and government.
Niknejad started her news career on the staff of City News Service of Los Angeles, a regional news agency, where she covered courts in San Diego for two years, and the Martha’s Vineyard Times, a local newspaper in Massachusetts, where she served as a general assignment reporter. Before starting Tehran Bureau, she was on the diplomatic beat at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and worked as a freelance producer and consultant on Iran to ABC News.
She got her first taste of editing as an editorial intern at Time magazine in New York, then worked as an associate editor at California Lawyer magazine in San Francisco. She has reported from the Middle East for PBS/Frontline, where she helped produce two documentaries on Iran, “Showdown with Iran,” and “A Death in Tehran.”
Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, Time, Foreign Policy, California Lawyer, Columbia Journalism Review, among others. She has served as a moderator and panelist on discussions about digital journalism and Iran. Past venues have included MIT, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Columbia University, Paley Center/Carnegie, and the Poynter Institute.
Niknejad is a lawyer-turned-journalist. She has been admitted to practice law in California and before the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
She is a longtime board member of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalist Association.