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

A whole different 'Iron Man' for the Chinese market

Disney is releasing two distinct versions of "Iron Man 3" this week: The international version and the Chinese version. How is Hollywood tailoring movies for the growing Chinese audience?
Posted In: Entertainment, film, China

Why a private equity tycoon is funding a scholarship in China

Billionaire Stephen Schwarzman is spearheading a $300 million scholarship fund for top students from the U.S., Europe, and Latin America to spend a year in China. With philanthropy, comes influence.
Posted In: China, Education, Tsinghua University

China's toxic harvest: Consumers flock to imported food

Thanks to a string of scandals that have damaged the reputation of China’s domestic food supply, more and more among the country's rising consumer class are turning to imported foods.
Posted In: China, Food, Health

China's toxic harvest: A "cancer village" rises in protest

Farmers in Liuchong village in the Central Chinese province of Hubei are standing up to a local phosphate mining operation and fertilizer factory they blame for polluting the village's water and air, killing their crops and livestock, and leading to a sharp increase in cancer rates in the region.
Posted In: China, Health, cancer, Environment, pollution

China's toxic harvest: Growing tainted food in "cancer villages"

China's relentless focus on GDP growth has created unchecked industrial pollution, contaminating the nation's food supply. The story of one so-called 'cancer village' in Yunnan province where residents are dying.
Posted In: cancer, China

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

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