New York Times foreign correspondent and three-time Pulitzer Prize–finalist Rukmini Callimachi is widely acknowledged as one of the preeminent reporters on Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In this lecture and Q&A, Callimachi draws on her in-depth knowledge of the militant group to examine the pervasive effects of the internet both as a journalistic tool and political weapon.
Callimachi began covering terrorism in 2013 when locals in the city of Timbuktu, Mali, led her to the headquarters of al-Qaeda’s North African branch. There she found thousands of pages of internal al-Qaeda documents, providing a window into the terror group’s operations. Scouring the nearly 15,000 pages, Callimachi published “The ISIS Files,” which examined how the Islamic State have stayed in power through brutality and bureaucracy. In Caliphate, the Time’s first serialized podcast, Callimachi tracks the rise of ISIS from their encrypted, online chatrooms to their spread across four continents. With over 25 million downloads and consistently ranked as one of the best podcasts of 2018, Esquire hailed Caliphate as “gripping, disturbing and ferociously addictive.”