Rebecca Lipkin, 48

Rebecca Lipkin, 48; ABC News Producer and Writer

Rebecca Lipkin took part in 9/11 coverage.
Rebecca Lipkin took part in 9/11 coverage. (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2009

Rebecca Lipkin, 48, a globe-trotting producer and writer for ABC News, who later helped set up the English news operations of the al-Jazeera network in London, died July 19 of inflammatory breast cancer at Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Ms. Lipkin was based in Washington from 1992 to 2001 as a staff producer of "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings." She produced and wrote items on health care, education, religion and social issues for the program's "American Agenda" and "A Closer Look" segments. She worked with many well-known ABC newscasters, including Jennings, Charlie Gibson, Bob Woodruff and Carole Simpson.

In 2001, Ms. Lipkin moved to London as a producer for ABC's "Nightline." She coordinated coverage of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including conflicts in Iraq and Pakistan, for the nightly program, then hosted by Ted Koppel. She participated in the program's coverage of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which won many journalism honors, including Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards.

On March 16, 2005, Ms. Lipkin was given credit on the air by guest host George Stephanopoulos for conceiving a program on Ireland with Frank McCourt, the author of "Angela's Ashes," a memoir of his Irish childhood.

"When she saw that the Economist magazine recently called Ireland the world's best place to live," Stephanopoulos said, "Rebecca thought who better to tell the story, than the man who became famous for writing that Ireland was the world's worst place to grow up, who else but Frank McCourt."

She accompanied McCourt around Ireland as he interviewed residents about the changing economic life of the once-poor nation. McCourt died July 19, the same day as Ms. Lipkin.

In 2005, Ms. Lipkin joined al-Jazeera in London as director of programs and helped establish the network's English-language programming in London. She was credited with bringing former ABC newsman Dave Marash to al-Jazeera as a news anchor in 2006. Marash left the network last year, saying it had an anti-American bias.

Rebecca May Lipkin, who was born in New York, graduated from Brown University in 1981 and received a master's degree in journalism from New York University in 1986.

As a political and special projects producer for WABC-TV in New York from 1983 to 1992, she helped direct presidential campaign and convention coverage in 1984, 1988 and 1992. She also wrote and produced several documentaries.

Ms. Lipkin spent a year at the University of Chicago in 1990-91 on a fellowship to study law, physics and Middle Eastern history. In 1999, after receiving a Knight International Press Fellowship, she spent six months teaching journalists in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.

Survivors include her mother, Gladys Lipkin of Hollywood, Fla.; a sister, Harriet Lipkin of Washington; and a brother, Dr. Alan Lipkin of Englewood, Colo.

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