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

Seizing homes, seizing lives: The anatomy of a Shanghai land grab

The story of Maggie Lane, a Shanghai land grab gone wrong. Forty million Chinese people have lost their homes to local governments, bent on boosting GDP. The incoming government of Xi Jinping may change that.
Posted In: China, land grab, Shanghai

China to get its own FDA

Public anger over unsafe food and drugs is widespread in China. The country's new leader, Xi Jinping, is setting up an agency equivalent to America's Food and Drug Administration to tackle the problem.
Posted In: China, FDA, food and drink, food safety

Sequestration: How China sees the prospect of U.S. military cuts

China is a rising military power in the Pacific and the U.S. is partly a counterbalance, but U.S. military sequester spending cuts may turn out to be a mixed blessing for China.
Posted In: China, sequester, military

Mum's the word for U.S. businesses hacked by China

Experts say China's hacking is motivated by the need to innovate, but many of the U.S. firms that are victims need to reconsider their response to the attacks.
Posted In: China, hacking, Tech

Report alleges Chinese military group behind U.S. hacking

The American computer security firm Mandiant is releasing a report today that claims cyber attacks in the U.S. are linked to hackers inside a Chinese military group.
Posted In: cybersecurity, China, hacking

Celebrating Chinese New Year on the Street of Eternal Happiness

Chinese New Year is a time when most Chinese return home to celebrate with their families. We meet one homeless man who spends his New Year begging for change on the Street of Eternal Happiness.
Posted In: Chinese New Year, homeless

Pollution boosts clean air industry in China

Severe air pollution in Eastern China this year has spurred an economic boom for companies making filtration machines, masks, and even clean air 'domes'.
Posted In: China's Environment, air quality

At Foxconn, workers union gets teeth

Workers at the major Apple supplier in China will soon have a new union that represents them. Formerly, the union was controlled by management.
Posted In: China, Foxconn, apple

Chinese firm approved to buy U.S. electric car battery company

The U.S. government has approved China's largest auto parts maker Wanxiang's plans to buy A123 systems. The result might be a huge loss of jobs in America.
Posted In: China, electric cars, manufacturing

China's city dwellers struggle to cope with air pollution

China now burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. That's one reason for the recent severe smog outbreaks that have many Chinese residents complaining about air pollution.
Posted In: China, pollution, smog

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