Mark Urban

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Mark Urban
Mark Urban - Chatham House 2011.jpg
Mark Urban at Chatham House in 2011
Born Mark L. Urban
1961 (age 57–58)
Marylebone, London, England
Nationality British
Education Rokeby Preparatory School, King's College School
Alma mater London School of Economics
Occupation BBC correspondent, Military Historian

Mark Urban (born 1961[1]) is a British journalist, author, broadcaster and orientalist, and is currently the Diplomatic Editor for BBC Two's Newsnight.

Education and early career

Educated at the independent day schools Rokeby School and King's College School, Urban continued his education at the London School of Economics. After graduation, he served in the Army, for nine months as a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment on a Short Service Limited Commission and four years in the Territorial Army.

Correspondent career

Urban joined the BBC in 1983 as an assistant producer, working on several BBC news programmes. From 1986 to 1990 he was the defence correspondent of The Independent, before rejoining the BBC as a general reporter on Newsnight. From 1993 to 1994 he was Middle East correspondent for BBC News, before becoming Newsnight's diplomatic editor, a role he has held since 1995.[2][3] He has at times been an embedded reporter, first with British and then U.S. troops. In his years on Newsnight, he has reported on many of the most compelling foreign news stories in the past two decades: the Gulf War; the attempted coup d'état of 1991 in Moscow; 1993 events in Moscow; Bosnian War; Middle East peace process; the War in Kosovo; and the recent US military campaigns in War in Afghanistan and War in Iraq.[4]

In 2009 Urban received a Peace Through Media Award from the International Council for Press and Broadcasting.[5]

Military historian

In 2001, Urban published his first book on the Napoleonic Wars in the Iberian Peninsula. His study of George Scovell, in The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell, established him as a narrative historian who could effectively weave together first-hand accounts of the war without losing grip on the over-all story. His second narrative history, Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters, published in 2003, continues the story of the Iberian campaign, through the history of the famed 95th Rifles. His study of the Royal Welch Fusiliers followed the same pattern as his earlier successes, combining first-hand accounts with an overarching narrative.

His most recent book, Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the SAS and the Secret War in Iraq, was published in February 2010 by Little, Brown, and is, according to early reviews, "a heart-stoppingly vivid account of the Iraq conflict," particularly the so-called "Black Ops" efforts at counter-terrorism.[6]



  1. Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  2. BBC News 2. Mark Urban bio. BBC Two. Accessed 13 February 2010.
  3. Mark Urban, Debrett's People of Today
  4. Mark Urban on Newsnight's coverage of peace and war, 2 February 2005.
  5. Mark Urban on Newsnight's coverage of peace and war, 2 February 2005
  6. Tony Rennel. "SAS's secret war." The Mail online (London, UK). 13 February 2010. Accessed 13 February 2010.

External links