Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford University


As winter sets in on the Korean Peninsula, food shortages are a serious concern in North Korea. Barbara Demick, the 2012 Shorenstein Journalism Award winner, has written extensively on the challenges of everyday life in North Korea, including the struggle to find adequate food.
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December 11, 2012 - Shorenstein APARC, FSI Stanford News

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Sarah L. Bhatia

Barbara Demick named 2012 Shorenstein Journalism Award winner

STANFORD, Calif.-Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center has named Los Angeles Times Beijing bureau chief Barbara Demick winner of the 2012 Shorenstein Journalism Award. Demick was selected for her innovative and extraordinarily sensitive reporting on Northeast Asia over the past decade.

The Shorenstein Journalism Award was launched in 2002 to recognize the contributions of Western journalists in deepening our understanding of Asia. In 2011, the scope of the award was broadened to encompass Asian journalists who are at the forefront of the battle for press freedom in Asia, who have paved the way in constructing a new role for the media, and who have aided the growth of mutual understanding between Asia and the United States. Continuing as an annual tradition, the Shorenstein Journalism Award now alternates between recipients from the West, who have mainly addressed an American audience, and recipients from Asia.

Barbara Demick joined the Los Angeles Times in 2001 and has served as its Beijing bureau chief since 2008. Her reporting from China has focused on human trafficking, corruption, and minorities, as well as ongoing coverage of neighboring North Korea. Demick is the author of two books: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Her work has won awards from the Asia Society, the Overseas Press Club, and the American Academy of Diplomacy, among others.

Nothing to Envy began as a series of articles published during Demick's tenure as the inaugural Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Korea. Centering on the lives of six North Korean defectors from the northeastern port city of Chongjin, it has been translated into more than 20 languages. The New York Review of Books has called Nothing to Envy “a tour de force of meticulous reporting,” and the Wall Street Journal has hailed it as “a deeply moving book.” It recently won the International Book Award on Human Rights.

Before joining the Los Angeles Times, Demick worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Her reporting on Sarajevo won the George Polk Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.

Demick is a graduate of Yale and taught a seminar on coverage of repressive regimes at Princeton University. She currently lives in Beijing with her son Nicholas.

On February 11, 2013, Demick will visit Stanford University to take part in a lunchtime panel discussion about different ways of viewing North Korea, from a journalistic perspective and that of aid workers and authors who draw on the work of journalists reporting on North Korea. Demick will receive the award at a dinner ceremony where she will deliver a talk on her work in Asia.

About the Award

The Shorenstein Journalism Award, which carries a cash prize of $10,000, honors a journalist not only for a distinguished body of work, but also for the particular way that work has helped American readers to understand the complexities of Asia. The award, established in 2002, was named after Walter H. Shorenstein, the philanthropist, activist, and businessman who endowed two institutions that are focused respectively on Asia and on the press: the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) in the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The award was originally designed to honor distinguished American journalists for their work on Asia, including veteran correspondents for leading American media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, NBC News, PBS, and the Wall Street Journal. The first group of awardees included: Stanley Karnow (2002), Orville Schell (2003), Don Oberdorfer (2004), Nayan Chanda (2005), Melinda Liu (2006), John Pomfret (2007), Ian Buruma (2008), Seth Mydans (2009), and Barbara Crossette (2010).

In 2011, Shorenstein APARC re-envisioned the award to encompass distinguished Asian journalists who are at the forefront of the battle for press freedom in Asia and who have paved the way in constructing a new role for the media, including the growth of social media and Internet-based journalism. It also seeks to identify those Asian journalists who, from that side of the Pacific Ocean, have aided the growth of mutual understanding between Asia and the United States. Independent, pioneering Chinese media company Caixin was the first Asian recipient of the Shorenstein Journalism Award.

The Shorenstein Journalism Award not only to honors the legacy of Walter Shorenstein and his twin passions for Asia and the press, but also promotes the necessity of a free and vibrant media for the future of relations between Asia and the United States. A free press—both in its traditional aspect and also as an outgrowth of Internet social media—remains the essential catalyst for the growth of democratic freedom, as recent events in the Middle East have shown.

Continuing as an annual tradition, the Shorenstein Journalism Award now alternates between recipients from the West, who have mainly addressed an American audience, and recipients from Asia. The award’s distinguished jury members include:

Ian Buruma, the Henry R. Luce 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 Magazine, 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, director of publications at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and editor of YaleGlobal Online Magazine, served for nearly 30 years as editor, editor-at-large, and correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review. He was honored with the Shorenstein Journalism Award in 2005.

Susan Chira, assistant managing editor for news and former foreign editor of the New York Times, has extensive Asia experience, including serving as Japan correspondent for the Times in the 1980s. During her long tenure as foreign editor, the Times twice won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (2009 and 2007).

Donald Emmerson, a well-respected Indonesia scholar, serves as director of Shorenstein APARC’s Southeast Asia Forum and as a research fellow for the prestigious National Asia Research Program (NARP). Frequently cited in the international media, Emmerson also contributes op-eds to leading publications such as the Asia Times.

Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director at the Asia Society of New York's Center on U.S.-China Relations, and is also a former jury member for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. He 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 Sneider serves as the associate director for research at Shorenstein APARC and also as a NARP research associate. He frequently contributes articles to publications such as Foreign Policy, Asia Policy, and Slate and had three decades of experience as a foreign correspondent and editor for publications including the Christian Science Monitor and the San Jose Mercury News




Topics: Human Rights | Role of the media | Asia-Pacific | China | North Korea