Keith B. Richburg, Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong, 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 a Professor of Practice in Hong Kong, he teaches courses on Feature Writing, Covering China and Covering Global Affairs, while continuing his career as a freelance writer and an author.

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 and a lifelong Detroit Tigers baseball fan, 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."

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 regular media appearances include CNN, NBC, Al JazeeraC-SPANSky News and France 24, among others. He is a regular speaker and moderator at academic conferences and media panels worldwide, and was most recently a featured speaker in Ukraine under the U.S. Embassy Speakers' Program.

Richburg can be contacted at keith@keithrichburg.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.

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Protesters hold up their mobile phones as they gather outside the police headquarters in Hong Kong on June 21. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

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The massive protests in Hong Kong caught officials there by surprise and startled the mainland. Even after Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Beijing-anointed chief executive, apologized and said she […]
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The fight for Hong Kong

The proximate cause of the recent public protests in Hong Kong, which culminated on 16 June with an unprecedented 2 million people in the streets, was […]
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A man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Boulevard at Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989.(JEFF WIDENER/AP)

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Thirty years after government troops killed an unknown number of civilians, Beijing has astounded observers with the successful control of its people. HONG KONG — IN THE three […]
May 29, 2019
The current Democratic front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden never mentioned free trade or TPP at his first recent campaign rally in Pittsburgh. © Getty Images

Asia should not bet on Democrats on trade

Regardless of who wins the US 2020 election, Trump has shifted the globalization debate For the 21 candidates now officially vying for the U.S. Democratic Party’s […]
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(jhphoto/ Imaginechina)

#MeToo in China: A force for change or another doomed movement?

Photo: Workers in Beijing carry away a student who wrapped her body with gauze in 2009 to show support for Deng Yujiao, a spa worker who stabbed […]
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China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms threatens city’s global role

Photo: Media representatives hold a letter expressing their concerns outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Oct. 8. © AP Keith B. Richburg OCTOBER 10, 2018 […]



June 7, 2019

Monthly newsletter: June 2019

Hong Kong on June 4 just saw one of the largest crowds ever gather to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the massacre of pro-democracy students and protestors in […]
May 13, 2019

Monthly newsletter: May 2019

Is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a hero or a heel? Is Assange, currently in a British jail, a journalist who should be supported as a symbol […]
April 12, 2019

Monthly newsletter: April 2019

Message from Keith The adage holds that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I was reminded of that this month when I was fortunate […]
March 29, 2019

Monthly newsletter: March 2019

Message from Keith If you want to feel optimistic about the future of journalism, take a short trip up to Beijing. Yes, you read that right, […]
February 4, 2019

Monthly newsletter: February 2019

Welcome back! Our newsletter took a short break during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.  So you will see this edition is jam-packed with lots […]
February 26, 2017

Will the Trump White House Defend Press Freedom Abroad?

By Keith B. Richburg, February 26, 2017 (This article first appeared in Nieman Reports, Februry 23, 2017. ©Nieman Reports) In the late 1980s, I found myself banned […]