Afghanistan, winter 1989 on the outskirts of Kabul.
Lorch began reporting in 1987, traveling with and writing about the little known Afghan Mujaheddin guerrillas and their war against the Soviet occupation. Hired by The New York Times, she based herself in Peshawar, Pakistan, took more than a dozen trips into Afghanistan, and was the first reporter and only woman journalist to be smuggled into Kabul to document the guerrilla underground. From Pakistan, she also wrote about the assassination of President Zia ul-Haq, the election of Benazir Bhutto, and the Pakistan government's growing nuclear capability.
Rwandan Hutu refugees in the Tanzanian bush.
In the following years, she covered more than a dozen wars, including Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) and the fall of Kabul to the Afghan guerrillas in 1992. As East Africa Bureau Chief for The New York Times, she covered the civil war and famine in Somalia as well as the U.S. and U.N. intervention and pullout. She traveled with the rebels in southern Sudan, reported on the reign of terror of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, and witnessed the massacres in the hills of Burundi. But it was the story of the Rwandan genocide that, she says, has never left her. One of the few reporters to drive into Kigali a few days after the killings started, she spent the next year reporting from massacre sites, refugee camps and post-war Rwanda in an effort to document the unfolding of the genocide and the effort at rebuilding a country.
After joining NBC News in 1996 as an on-air correspondent, Lorch followed the tracks of war criminals in Bosnia, the war in Kosovo and its refugees in Albania, and reported on the terrorist bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya. But it is her passion for and knowledge of Afghanistan and Rwanda, refugee issues, and the role of the media in the battlefield that have become her trademark. As a correspondent for Newsweek, she reported from Africa and the U.S. on refugee resettlement issues for Sudan's "Lost Boys" and the Somali Bantus. In 2002, she returned to Afghanistan to embed with a U.S. Army Special Forces A Team and again in 2003 to base herself in the Taliban stronghold of South-eastern Afghanistan to write about the stalled efforts at reconstruction. In late 2008, she went back to Afghanistan to track down and interview former Guantanamo Bay detainees as part of a documentary on the American prison. The film has been nominated for two Emmys: one for Best Documentary and one for Best in Craft: Writing.
During her four years in Africa, Lorch worked as a consultant based in Nairobi, Kenya for the World Bank Development Report 2011,
the United Nations Environment Program and for UN Women. She reported, written, produced and
narrated videos as well as strategized and coordinated the 2010 world-wide launch of the "UNITE – Say No to Violence Against Women" campaign. At USAID in Kenya, she also spearheaded communications
for their largest youth program in the world as well as organized and coordinated their 50th anniversary
celebrations, conducted media training sessions and photographed their programs Kenya-wide.
In Nepal, Lorch covered the April 2015 earthquake and its aftermath for The New York Times, NPR, PRI, USA Today, The Daily Beast, UNHCR and The Asian Development Bank. She was a frequent commentator on NPR, PBS and NBC News. She has raised funds for and is assisting in the rebuilding of a Nepali village. Prior to the devastating earthquake, Lorch worked with Nepali schools as well as with local government entities to promote Kathmandu garbage clean-up and plastic-free campaigns. Her writing focuses on themes as varied as politics, religion, running, family, development efforts, trekking, pollution, holy goats and stray dogs.
Lorch has written book chapters on post-traumatic stress as well as the role of the media in humanitarian crises. She has lectured extensively on war reporting, journalism ethics, refugee issues, humanitarian intervention, and the role of the media in the battlefield. She has been a frequent guest speaker on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, BBC, CBC, PBS (The Charlie Rose Show), C-SPAN and National Public Radio. She is a recipient of the 2008 Barnard College Distinguished Alumna Award Award and while in Kenya was a member of Karura Forest's Management Committee. Karura Forest, once controlled by gangs and bandits, is now one of Nairobi's last wooded parks and one of the city's safest recreation areas. It was rescued from developers by Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai.
She lives in Nepal with her husband Johannes Zutt, who works at The World Bank. The couple met when she interviewed him on the subject of Sudanese refugees. They married in 2003 and have three children from his first marriage, Madeline, Nicholas and Alexander, as well as a son, Lucas.
Creative Visions Foundation
USAID | Kenya
Knight International Press Fellowships
The Mwelu Foundation