Photo Name
Talent Name
Debora Patta

December 2021

Debora Patta is a CBS News foreign correspondent based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She joined CBS News in 2013 and has reported on major international stories across the continent, including the Ebola outbreak, the kidnapping of schoolgirls by Boko Haram and the famine in South Sudan. She reports for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, including the CBS EVENING NEWS, CBS MORNINGS and CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 streaming news service.

Since joining CBS News, Patta has also reported across the Middle East and Europe including the bombing of a Syrian children’s hospital, the fall of Aleppo, and terror attacks in Brussels, France and Spain.

Patta, who wrote a book on Nelson Mandela in 2000, was CBS News’ lead correspondent after his death, providing on-the-ground coverage of his funeral and celebration of his life and impact on South Africa. Patta also reported from Liberia during the Ebola crisis, where half of the Ebola cases in the world were located.

Patta has also reported extensively from conflict zones in Niger, Somalia and Cameroon. She reported from Niger after Islamic militants ambushed U.S. and Nigerian soldiers, leaving four Americans dead. Patta’s reporting on child cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo prompted an outpouring of support from CBS News viewers who donated money to send children to school.

Patta has also reported on child slaves in the fishing industry in Ghana. In addition, she has covered the effects of climate change on the African continent looking at plastic pollution and the second-hand clothing industry, reporting on how our discarded fashion items end up on dump sites halfway around the world.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Patta reported on how the virus spread across the African continent and investigated vaccine inequality. She was the first international correspondent to visit the lab where the new variant Omicron was identified shortly after scientists announced its discovery to the world.

Patta began her career in South Africa, reporting for the BBC Radio. In 1990 she joined a Johannesburg talk radio station and became well-known for her coverage of Mandela during his election campaign to become South Africa’s first Black president. Mandela used to call her “his favorite journalist.” She moved to independent free-to-air television station in 1998, became its editor-in-chief and later launched the country’s first 24-hour TV channel. Patta was also the host and executive producer of “Third Degree,” an investigative current affairs program, for 13 years and was known for conducting tough and thorough interviews.

Patta is an award-winning journalist, having been named Vodacom Media Woman of the Year, South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Media and Italy’s Woman of the World, and she was one of MTN’s Outstanding Women in Media. She is also the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award; an NABJ Salute to Excellence Award; and a Scripps Howard Award for Broadcast Excellence.

She is also an author and exercise enthusiast, having summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and run a New York City marathon.