Kristen Gelineau, an award-winning journalist for The Associated Press in Sydney, has been promoted to chief of bureau for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The appointment was announced Tuesday by Brian Carovillano, the AP's Asia-Pacific editor.

Gelineau joined the AP in 2002 in Seattle, later covering politics in Olympia, Washington, and general news in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2004, she transferred to the Richmond, Virginia, bureau, where she served as the state crime writer. While there, she covered death row, disasters including Hurricane Katrina, and helped lead AP's coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre.

In 2005, she received an honorable mention for the Associated Press Managing Editors Association's John L. Dougherty award, given to outstanding young reporters. In 2008, she became correspondent in Sydney, writing about everything from Aboriginal rights to mental health to Australian culture and crime.

Gelineau has covered disasters across the Asia-Pacific region, including the 2010 tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia, and the earthquake last year in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her interview with two children who had lost their mother in the collapse of the Christchurch TV building was among the defining stories of that tragedy and was widely used and cited around the world. She also was part of AP's award-winning team that covered the 2011 Japan tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Gelineau's writing has received several honors, including the 2006 APME feature writing award for a story about a forensic scientist whose habit of saving old DNA samples freed several wrongly convicted men years after her death. "The Longest Journey Home" a story she co-wrote this year with AP colleague Ravi Nessman in India was cited as one of the year's notable narratives by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

"Gelineau is a gifted storyteller who has established herself on the biggest stories in the region," said John Daniszewski, senior managing editor for international news of the AP, speaking from New York. "We look forward to a robust and vital news report under her leadership in Sydney."

Gelineau, who reports to Carovillano, will manage AP reporters in Canberra and Wellington, New Zealand, as well as a network of stringers on the Pacific Islands. She also will be responsible for coordinating AP's coverage across media formats and maintaining editorial relations with AP's partners and clients in the region.

Gelineau, 33, is a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, and holds a journalism degree from Boston University.