Scott Johnson was named Africa Bureau Chief in April 2007, after serving two years as Baghdad Bureau Chief since the spring of 2004. In the summer of 2007, Johnson co-authored, with Sharon Begley, Newsweek's July cover story "Slaughter in the Jungle," about a spate of rare mountain gorilla killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has also been covering, for the magazine and Newsweek's Web site, the economic collapse of Zimbabwe, health initiatives across the continent and the rise of China in Africa.
Prior to coming to Africa, Johnson worked on assignment in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. He was on assignment in Iraq during the invasion and returned several times during 2002 and 2003 to report on the post-invasion occupation. During his two years as Baghdad bureau chief, Johnson covered the rise of Iraq's sectarian war, the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein and the American military's attempt to quell the insurgency in places like Ramadi and Baghdad. He contributed exclusive reporting on the growth of death squads in Baghdad, Iran's growing influence in Iraq and American military and political developments in Baghdad.
Before coming to Iraq, Johnson covered the war in Afghanistan from October 2001 to April 2002, reporting on the fall of the Taliban from the front lines of Kunduz and Taloqan. Later on, Johnson traveled across Afghanistan reporting on the hunt for Al Qaeda and the resurgence of the Taliban as American forces drew down its presence. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnson has done exclusive war reporting, often under fire and in the most dangerous situations. In Iraq, he covered the hunt for Saddam Hussein with exclusive access to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 4th Infantry Division. He also contributed extensive exclusive reporting early in 2003 on the nascent Iraqi insurgency from Fallujah.
In between posts to Baghdad, Johnson was provisionally based in Mexico City from 2002 to 2006. When not covering the war, Johnson reported on political and economic developments across Latin America. In 2002 he authored a Newsweek International cover story on the rise of China in Mexico. In 2004 he received an Overseas Press Club Honorable Mention for "Best Reporting in any Medium on Latin America" for "Latin America Lags Behind," about economic trends across the hemisphere. In Latin America, Johnson also covered violence along the U.S-Mexico border, the creation of Mexico's freedom of information act and an experimental drug treatment center in Peru.
Previously, Johnson reported for Newsweek out of Paris, France, since October 1998. During that time, he has reported on many of the biggest stories to come out of the continent, including Europe's mad cow scare, the backlash against globalization, and Newsweek's military coverage of the Kosovo war out of southern Italy. He has also developed in-depth investigative pieces from Europe, and he contributed heavily to Newsweek's worldwide report on pedophilia and the Internet. He has also covered North Africa, covering terrorism pre-and-post 9/11.
Johnson is a frequent contributor to radio, most recently from Iraq where he has interviewed on NPR, The World and other national stations, and he has been seen on MSNBC, Fox and CNN. In addition to Newsweek, his writing has appeared in Le Courrier International and Letras Libres. Johnson was also part of the Iraq team that contributed to Newsweek's 2003 National Magazine Award.
Johnson is a 1996 graduate of the University of Washington, where he received double degrees in Comparative Literature and Comparative History of Ideas. Postgraduate work included Arabic language and Middle Eastern Studies in Fes, Morocco. He is a member of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris.