The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Theo Padnos: Reporting Islamism and Syria, and how to survive torture

An American freelance journalist who’s lived for many years in Syria and the Middle East, Theo Padnos’s unorthodox style of undercover reporting from Yemeni Madrassas had already made him enemies before he was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in Northern Syria in Autumn 2012. After two years of horrific torture at the hands of his captors, and five days after the execution of another American freelance journalist Jim Foley by Islamic State, Padnos was freed. He came to the CIJ to talk about how to report Islamism and Syria, what he sees as the gulf between mainstream media coverage of Syria and his experience of life on the ground, and how to survive two years of gruesome torture to tell the journalistic tale.

Chair: James Harkin, CIJ Director.

This talk was hosted at Goldsmiths, University of London, as part of the #LOGANCIJ Talks Series.

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Theo Padnos

Theo Padnos is an American journalist who was released by the al-Nusra Front in August 2014, after being held hostage for almost two years. He was the cellmate of American war photographer Matt Schrier, who escaped after seven months of captivity.


  • 6 December 2017 18.30–20.00
Location: Goldsmiths, University of London