Frederik Pleitgen is a Senior International Correspondent based in Berlin.
Since joining the international news network, Pleitgen has brought a uniquely German perspective to CNN´s global audience. Between 2006 and 2014, Pleitgen was CNN’s Berlin correspondent, delivering insight into the political, economic and cultural influences of this key European power.
Pleitgen has been pivotal to CNN’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since it began, and in 2023 was a part of the CNN team which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Breaking News Coverage for reporting on this story.
He played a leading role in CNN’s coverage of the German Bundestags-Elections in both 2009 and 2013, while in 2014 he reported on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, bringing his own family’s experience of the event to bear in his coverage.
In addition, he has extensively reported on the ongoing conflict in Syria, traveling to Damascus, Homs, Aleppo and many other places in the war town nation. He was also the first international journalist to report from Damascus only days after chemical weapons struck rebel held areas in 2013 nearly setting off U.S. military intervention. Pleitgen was also on hand in Aleppo when the city fell back into the hands of Syrian government forces in late 2016.
In 2011, Pleitgen was a key reporter during the unrest in the Arab world, reporting from Egypt as the revolution that eventually toppled the Mubarak government unfolded forming part of the team that won an Emmy for its live coverage of the protests in Cairo, and one of the first journalists to get inside the Libyan besieged city of Misrata.
Pleitgen also travelled undercover to Myanmar, which was then ruled by a repressive Junta, several times to report on the aftermath of cyclone Nargis in 2008 and the flawed elections and release of the pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010.
Major stories that Pleitgen has covered over the years have included the Asian Tsunami in 2004, the death of Pope John Paul II and subsequent election of the first German pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, and now Pope Benedict XVI. Pleitgen, who is fluent in German, English and French, reported from London during the July 2005 terrorist attacks and was dispatched to bring German audiences coverage of the tragic aftermath of both Hurricane Wilma and Katrina in the U.S.
Prior to joining CNN, he worked in the political unit at German public service broadcaster ZDF, and had previously worked at private news broadcaster N-TV as a reporter and executive producer. Pleitgen also has spent time working for RTL and TV Berlin.
Pleitgen studied North American Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn and at Free University Berlin, where he submitted his master’s thesis on traditions in American journalism. He also spent one year studying at the School of Journalism at New York University and in 2004 received a fellowship for the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in San Fernando Valley/USA. Pleitgen was also awarded with the 2005 Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, which he spent at the International Centre for Journalists in Atlanta, Georgia.