Paula Hancocks is an award-winning international correspondent for CNN based in Seoul, South Korea, responsible for covering major stories on the Korean peninsula and the surrounding region.
Hancocks has led the network’s coverage of the Korean peninsula for more than ten years, including North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, the Pyeongchang Olympics charm offensive and the subsequent Trump-Kim and inter-Korean summits. She also led CNN’s coverage of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il, the rise of new leader Kim Jong Un and the plight of American citizens detained in the country.
Hancocks has consistently secured exclusive access for her work: she interviewed a former North Korean ambassador who defected to Seoul, reported on North Korea’s assassination weapons and covered the story of nine young defectors who were sent back to North Korea.
South of the border, Hancocks has covered Seoul’s dealings with its neighbor, capturing the emotions of family reunions between the two Koreas in a special documentary called ‘The Long Goodbye’, as well as Presidential elections and an impeachment.
Hancocks has also covered some of the biggest stories in Asia in recent years, including the military coup in Myanmar, the devastating impact of the pandemic across Asia, and in 2020 she gained exclusive access to the most high-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Taiwan in forty years at a time of increased tension with China.
Prior to taking up her position in Seoul, Hancocks was based in Jerusalem and reported on the 2008 Gaza war, smuggling tunnels and rocket factories in Gaza and the deadly confrontation aboard an aid ship bound for Gaza. On a daily basis, she covered the political intricacies of a never-ending peace effort and the anger and frustrations on both sides of the conflict.
Previously, she served as an international correspondent at CNN’s London bureau, reporting on a wide range of stories including the 2005 London bombings, the aftermath of the Iraq war and bombings in Istanbul.
Throughout her career, Hancocks has been recognized multiple times for her reporting. She was part of a CNN Special Report called ‘Witness to the Pandemic’, which was nominated for a 2021 Emmy Award for Outstanding News Special. She was at the centre of CNN’s coverage of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2019, for which the team won the Breaking News award at the Royal Television Society TV Journalism Awards. Hancocks was also the first international journalist to report live from Tacloban in the Philippines after devastating Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. CNN’s reporting was subsequently recognized by the Royal Television Society, winning the Best International News Coverage award. Her work covering the sinking of the Sewol Ferry in South Korea was honored with a New York Festival award. She also covered the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which the team won the Ed Murrow award, and she was part of the team honored with a DuPont-Columbia Award for their reporting from Sri Lanka on the devastating impact of the 2004 tsunami.
Hancocks joined CNN in 1997 as a production assistant. Prior to joining CNN she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Italian from the University of Durham and a postgraduate degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Wales, Cardiff.