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. In 2022, Richburg joined Washington Post Opinions as a Global Opinions columnist.
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 Jazeera, C-SPAN, Sky News and France 24, among others. He is a regular speaker and moderator at academic conferences and media panels worldwide, and was recently a featured speaker in Ukraine under the U.S. Embassy Speakers’ Program.
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