Ian Johnson, longtime foreign correspondent, to receive Shorenstein Journalism Award

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Ian Johnson, a veteran journalist with a focus on Chinese society, religion and history, is the 2016 recipient of the Shorenstein Journalism Award. The award, given annually by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, is conferred to a journalist who produces outstanding reporting on Asia and has contributed to greater understanding of the complexities of Asia. He will deliver a keynote speech and participate in a panel discussion on May 1, 2017, at Stanford.

“Ian Johnson is one of those rare writers who has not only watched China’s evolution over the long haul, but who is also deeply steeped in the culture and politic of both Europe and the United States as well,” said Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director at the Asia Society of New York’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and jury member for the award. “This cross-cultural grounding has imbued his work on China with a humanistic core that, because it is always implicit rather than explicit, is all the more persuasive.”

Ian Buruma, the Paul W. Williams Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College and jury member for the award, added further praise, “Ian Johnson is one of the finest journalists in the English language. He writes about China with extraordinary insight, deep historical knowledge and a critical spirit tempered by rare human sympathy. His work on China is further enriched by wider interests, such as the problems of Islamist extremism in the West, specifically Germany, where he lives when he is not writing from China.”

The Shorenstein award, now in its 15th year, originally in partnership with the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, was created to honor American journalists who through their writing have helped Americans better understand Asia. In 2011, the award was broadened to encompass Asian journalists who pave the way for press freedom, and have aided in the growth of mutual understanding across the Pacific. Recent recipients of the award include Yoichi Funabashi, former editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun; Jacob Schlesinger of the Wall Street Journal; and Aung Zaw, founder of the Irrawaddy, a Burmese publication.

Johnson has spent over half of the past 30 years in the Greater China region, first as a student in Beijing from 1984-85, and then in Taipei from 1986-88. He later worked as a newspaper correspondent in China, from 1994-96 with Baltimore's The Sun, and then from 1997-2001 with the Wall Street Journal, covering macroeconomics, China’s social issues and World Trade Organization accession.

Johnson returned to China in 2009, where he now lives and writes for the New York Times and freelances for the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker and National Geographic. He also teaches and leads a fellowship program at the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies.

Johnson has also worked in Germany, serving as the Wall Street Journal’s Germany bureau chief and senior writer. Early on in his career, he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and German unification, and later returned to head coverage on areas including the introduction of the euro and Islamist terrorism.

Johnson has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won in 2001 for his coverage of the Chinese government’s suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and its implications of that campaign for the future. He is also the author of two books, Wild Grass (Pantheon, 2004) which examines China’s civil society and grassroots protest, and A Mosque in Munich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010). His next book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao (Pantheon, April 2017) explores the resurgence of religion and value systems in China.

Additional details about the panel discussion and the award are listed below.

About the Panel Discussion and Award Ceremony

A keynote speech will be delivered by Shorenstein Journalism Award winner Ian Johnson, followed by a panel discussion with Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director at the Asia Society of New York’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, and Xueguang Zhou, professor of sociology at Stanford; moderated by Daniel C. Sneider, associate director for research at Shorenstein APARC.

May 1, 2017, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (PDT)

Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305

The keynote speech and panel discussion are open to the public. The award ceremony will take place in the evening for a private audience.

To RSVP for the panel discussion, please visit this page.

About the Shorenstein Journalism Award

The Shorenstein Journalism Award honors a journalist not only for excellence in their field of reporting on Asia, but also for their promotion of a free, vibrant media and for the future of relations between Asia and the United States. Originally created to identify American and Western journalists for their work in and on Asia, the award now also recognizes Asian journalists who have contributed significantly to the development of independent media in Asia. The award is presented annually and includes a prize of $10,000.

The award is named after Walter H. Shorenstein, the philanthropist, activist and businessman who endowed two institutions that are focused respectively on Asia and the press - the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Past recipients of the award include: Yoichi Funabashi, formerly of the Asahi Shimbun (2015); Jacob Schlesinger of the Wall Street Journal (2014), Aung Zaw of the Irrawaddy (2013), Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times (2012), Caixin Media of China (2011), Barbara Crossette of the New York Times (2010), Seth Mydans of the New York Times (2009), Ian Buruma (2008), John Pomfret of the Washington Post (2007), Melinda Liu of Newsweek (2006), Nayan Chanda of the Far Eastern Economic Review (2005), Don Oberdofer of the Washington Post (2004), Orville Schell (2003), and Stanley Karnow (2002).

A jury selects the award winner. The 2016 jury comprised of:

Ian Buruma, the Paul W. Williams Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College, is a noted Asia expert who frequently contributes to publications including the New York Times, the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker. He is a recipient of the Shorenstein Journalism Award and the international Erasmus Prize (both in 2008).

Nayan Chanda is the director of publications and the editor of YaleGlobal Online Magazine at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. For nearly thirty years, Chanda was at the Hong Kong-based magazine, Far Eastern Economic Review. He writes the ‘Bound Together’ column in India’s Business World and is the author of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warrior Shaped Globalization. Chanda received the Shorenstein Journalism Award in 2005.

Susan Chira is a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues and former deputy executive editor and foreign editor at the New York Times. Chira has extensive experience in Asia, including serving as Japan correspondent for the Times in the 1980s. During her tenure as foreign editor, the Times won the Pulitzer Prize four times for international reporting on Afghanistan, Russia, Africa and China.

Donald K. Emmerson is a well-respected Indonesia scholar and director of Shorenstein APARC’s Southeast Asia Program and a research fellow for the National Asia Research Program. Frequently cited in international media, Emmerson also contributes to leading publications, such as Asia Times and International Business Times.

Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director at the Asia Society of New York’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and former jury member for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Schell has written extensively on China and was awarded the 1997 George Peabody Award for producing the groundbreaking documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace. He received the Shorenstein Journalism Award in 2003.

Daniel C. Sneider is the associate director for research at Shorenstein APARC, writing on Asian security issues, wartime historical memory and U.S policy in Asia. He also frequently contributes to publications such as Foreign Policy, Asia Policy and Slate. Sneider had three decades of experience as a foreign correspondent serving in India, Japan and Russia for the Christian Science Monitor and as the national and foreign editor of the San Jose Mercury News and a syndicated columnist on foreign affairs for Knight-Ridder.

For more information about the award, please visit this page.