Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai.

Schmitz has won several awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards, an Education Writers Association award, and his work was a finalist for the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His reporting in Japan from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami was included in the publication 100 Great Stories, celebrating the centennial of Columbia University’s Journalism School. In 2012, Schmitz exposed the fabrications in Mike Daisey’s account of Apple’s supply chain on This American Life. His report was featured in the show’s “Retraction” episode, the most downloaded episode in the program's 16-year history.

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.

Among the honors Schmitz has received for his work: 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 award (2002); Golden Mic awards 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); finalist, Investigative Reporters and Editors award (2013); two national Edward R. Murrow awards (2012 and 2014). In 2011, the Rubin Museum of Art screened a short documentary Schmitz shot in Tibet.

Schmitz has a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. He’s lived in Spain, Australia, and 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. 

 

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Features by Rob Schmitz

China uneasy with North Korea's threats

A steady drumbeat of threats from North Korea is making the world's second largest economy assess China's relationship with its neighbor.
Posted In: China, North Korea, Xi Jinping

Bird flu scare in China: Bad news for KFC

As cases of a new strain of bird flu spread across the Shanghai region, fast food chains like KFC are taking a hit to their bottom line.
Posted In: China, flu, KFC, yum brands

Burning paper iPhones: Transferring wealth to the afterlife in China

The Chinese are celebrating the annual tomb sweeping holiday, a day when people sweep the gravestones of their ancestors and burn money, paper villas, and cardboard consumer products in the belief that it'll comfort deceased loved ones.
Posted In: China

China tackles a new outbreak of bird flu

Officials in China announced today that a sixth person has died from a new strain of bird flu. 14 people near Shanghai have been infected, and today authorities there decided to close all of the city's poultry markets.
Posted In: China, Health, virus

China's urban refugees: Leaving pollution, city life behind

In the midst of a national urbanization campaign, more and more young urban professionals in China are quitting their jobs and starting over in the pollution and stress-free environment of rural mountainous Western China.
Posted In: China, air pollution, refugees

Mend it like Beckham: Can the superstar save Chinese soccer?

David Beckham has just wrapped up a visit to China, where he is now serving as 'global ambassador' to the country's national soccer league, an organization long plagued with match fixing and bribery. Can Beckham help save Chinese soccer?
Posted In: China, Sports, David Beckham, soccer

Will Treasury Secretary Lew get tough on China?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is in Beijing this morning wrapping up his two-day visit to China. It's his first foreign trip in his new role and the first high-level talks between the U.S. and China in six months.
Posted In: China, jack lew, treasury secretary, hacking

Looking back to the future on Shanghai's Street of Eternal Happiness

Disoriented by the rapid pace of change in China, more young urban professionals are grounding themselves by turning to ancient Chinese traditions, including teachings from the time of Confucius.
Posted In: China

Chinese province offers 'clean air tourism' to suffering urbanites

China's southeastern province of Fujian enjoys some of China's cleanest air. Provincial officials have launched a 'clean air tourism' campaign to court Chinese who live in cities like Beijing, where pollution levels have been at record highs this year.
Posted In: tourism, China, clean air, smog

Is China's one-child policy on the way out?

China's government has announced plans to remove power from the agency that oversees the country's controversial one-child policy. Observers say this could spell the beginning of the end for the rule.
Posted In: China, public policy, family

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