(This article first appeared in Nieman Reports, Februry 23, 2017. ©Nieman Reports)
In the late 1980s, I found myself banned from Indonesia. I ended up on the blacklist after a rookie correspondent’s mistake; I wrote that the longtime dictator, Suharto, had taken power in a coup, rather than using the military regime’s preferred version of history: that Suharto had stepped in and saved the country from an aborted Communist coup.
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.