Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai.
Schmitz joined Marketplace in 2010. He's covered a range of topics in China, from labor conditions to education to the rise of consumerism. In 2011, he provided Marketplace’s sole coverage from Japan in the days following the earthquake and tsunami, reporting from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant. Most recently, he played the key role in exposing the fabrications in Mike Daisey’s account of Apple's supply chain on This American Life and his report was featured in that show’s much-discussed "Retraction" episode. In 2012, he and Marketplace Education Correspondent Amy Scott won the national Edward R. Murrow award and an award from the Education Writers Association for their investigative series on college agencies that place Chinese students at U.S. universities.
Prior to joining Marketplace, Schmitz was the Los Angeles bureau chief for KQED’s The California Report. He’s also worked as the Orange County reporter for KPCC, and as a reporter for MPR, covering rural Minnesota.
Prior to his radio career, Schmitz lived and worked in China; first as a teacher in the Peace Corps, then as a freelance print and video journalist. His television documentaries about China have appeared on The Learning Channel and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Schmitz has received many honors and awards including: the Overseas Press Club Scholarship (2001); The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalist award (2001); the Scripps Howard Religion Writing Fellowship (2001); the International Reporting Project Fellowship (2002); the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (2002); Golden Mics from the Radio and TV News Association of Southern California (2005 and 2006); the Peninsula Press Club award (2006); the ASU Media Fellowship, (2007); the Abe Fellowship for Journalists, (2009); the Education Writers Association (2011); and a national Edward R. Murrow award (2012). In 2011, the Rubin Museum of Art screened a short documentary Schmitz shot in Western China.
Schmitz has a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. He served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zigong, Sichuan Province, China.
A native of Elk River, Minn., Schmitz currently resides in Shanghai, a city that’s far enough away from his hometown to avoid having to watch his favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings. Sometimes, he says, that’s a good thing.