Keith B. Richburg spent more than 20 years overseas for The Washington Post, serving as bureau chief in Beijing, Paris, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Nairobi and Manila as well as New York City. He also was the Post’s Foreign Editor during 2005–2007. Richburg was Journalist-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Hawaii in 1990 and was president of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club in 1997, during the year of Hong Kong’s handover to China. Now based in Bangkok, he is now devoting himself to freelance writing, teaching, media training and book writing.
During his time at the Post, he reported on the invasion in Iraq, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. military intervention in Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda, the 1997 Hong Kong handover, the Asian economic crisis, and the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Party Congress in Beijing in 2012. He has won several awards, including the George Polk Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the National Association of Black Journalists Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Africa. Richburg speaks English and French, a smattering of Spanish, and has been studying Mandarin Chinese.
A native of Detroit, Richburg began working for the Post as a summer intern in 1978. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in international relations from The London School of Economics in 1984. He began his career in journalism as the political cartoonist for The Michigan Daily, the student-run newspaper of the University of Michigan, and he still dabbles in cartooning.
Richburg was the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in the Spring of 2014, where he taught an undergraduate course, "Foreign Policy, Public Opinion and the Press," and he was a 2013 Spring Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy Institute of Politics, where he led a weekly study group called "China Rising." Currently dividing his time between Bangkok, Hong Kong and the U.S., he is a freelance writer and columnist, writing for, among others, The Edge Review and the Nikkei Asian Review. In addition, he leads media training workshops on request in Southeast Asia, including one held in Ho Chi Minh City for Vietnamese journalists, and he is now at work on his second book.
Richburg is the author of the acclaimed book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa (Basic Books, 1997) that was described by USA TODAY as “the most honest book to emerge from Africa in a long time.”
His media appearances include MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, C-SPAN, Sky News and France 24. He has participated in forums and panels at the Overseas Press Club in New York, the East-West Center in Hawaii, Tsinghua University in Beijing as well as academic and professional panels in Washington, DC, New York, Indonesia, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.
Richburg can be contacted at email@example.com.
Washington Post Assignments
Bureau chief, Bejing, 2009-2013
Bureau chief, New York, 2007-2009
Bureau chief, Paris, 2000-2007
Bureau chief, Hong Kong, 1995-2000
Bureau chief, Nairobi, 1991-1995
Journalist-in-residence, East-West Center, Hawaii, 1990-1991
Bureau chief, Manila, 1986-1990
1980 B.A., Political Science & History, University of Michigan
1984 M.A., International Relations, The London School of Economics
2013 Harvard University Institute of Politics Resident Fellow
1998 George Polk Award for Economic Reporting, Asian Economic Crisis
1995 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Journalism Award for essay "Continental Drift"
1994 Overseas Press Club Award, Citations for Excellence, for Dispatches from Africa
1993 National Association of Black Journalists First Place for International Reporting for coverage of Somalia
1993 George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for coverage of Somalia
1992 Overseas Press Club Award, Citations for Excellence, coverage of Somalia
1992 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Somalia coverage
Out of America
A Black Man Confronts Africa
Cover of Out of America, A Black Man Confronts Africa, orange silhouette of map of Africa on reddish wood grain
Nothing in Keith Richburg’s long and respected journalistic career at The Washington Post prepared him for what he would encounter as the paper’s correspondent in Africa.
He found a continent where brutal murder had become routine, where dictators and warlords silenced dissent with machine guns and machetes, and where starvation had become depressingly common.
With a great deal of personal anguish, Richburg faced a difficult question: If this is Africa, what does it mean to be an African American? Read more
Freelance journalist and former China correspondent Keith B. Richburg has spent more than 20 years overseas for The Washington Post, serving as bureau chief in Paris, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Nairobi and Manila. He covered the invasion in Iraq, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. military intervention in Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda and the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China.
A native of Detroit, Richburg began working for the Post as a summer intern in 1978. He was the Post’s foreign editor from 2005 to 2007 and the New York bureau chief from 2007 to 2009. He has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in international relations from The London School of Economics.
Richburg is the author of Out Of America; A Black Man Confronts Africa (Basic Books, 1997). He speaks English and French and has been learning Mandarin.
January 19, 2015
My Jan 14, 2015 interview with Al Jazeera after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris
February 1, 2013
Discussion with Keith on China and North Korea
January 10, 2013
Al Jazeera English interview with Keith Richburg about Chinese revolt over censorship.
November 12, 2012
Keith talks about China's view on President Obama's reelection.
October 31, 2012
The Post's Keith Richburg takes a closer look at the relationship between the two countries as China prepares for a leadership transition.
April 15, 2012
Sky News interviews Keith Richburg about new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and failed satellite launch.
Keith Richburg,Washington Post Beijing bureau chief, discusses the protests following government censorship of a newspaper in southern China and the relationship between the Propaganda Department and the Chinese media.