Rob Schmitz

Former China Correspondent


Rob Schmitz is the former China correspondent for Marketplace, based in Shanghai.

Rob has won several awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards and an Education Writers Association award. His work was also 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, Rob 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, Rob 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, Rob 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 Rob 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 Rob shot in Tibet.

Rob 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., Rob 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. 


Latest Stories (514)

A warning for parched China: a city runs out of water

Apr 25, 2016
A city suddenly without water highlights northern China's water shortage.
Construction crews put the finishing touches on the middle route of China’s South-North Water Diversion project in Henan province. The project’s three routes (two of which are completed) total nearly 2700 miles of man-made waterways that divert water from China’s water-rich south to its parched northern region.
Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

China cracks down on Internet finance sector

Apr 21, 2016
The ballooning sector in China has escaped regulation — up until now.
The headquarters of the People's Bank of China.

The big loophole in China's sanctions on North Korea

Apr 6, 2016
Should North Korea's economy collapse, it won't be pretty for China.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects the command of the Korean People's Army.
KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Xi Jinping's family linked to Panama Papers

Apr 4, 2016
Xi Jinping is among 8 of China's top officials whose families own shell companies to hide their money.
Xi Jinping's family has been linked to the Panama Papers scandal.
Feng Li/Getty Images

The Chinese lake that's ground zero for the bird flu

Mar 30, 2016
Scientists have their eyes on Poyang Lake, China's breeding ground for bird flu.
Scientists believe live bird markets like this one, in the city of Nanchang near Poyang Lake, have ideal conditions for the spread of the avian influenza.
Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

Five years after tsunami, taxi company still fighting

Mar 11, 2016
Sendai's Smile Smile Taxi rebuilds its business 5 years after Japan's disaster.
Smile Smile Taxi owners Emi Sato and her father Matsuo Sato stand outside their headquarters that was partially destroyed five years ago.
Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

Five years later, Japanese city still dealing with loss

Mar 11, 2016
Sendai is still picking up from Japan's worst earthquake and tsunami on record.
A house from the surrounding neighborhood lays upside down on the edge of Nakano Elementary's pool in the days after a tsunami destroyed the surrounding neighborhood, killing more than a thousand people in the city of Sendai.
Rob Schmitz/Marketplace

"Reaganomics" with Chinese characteristics

Mar 4, 2016
"Supply-side reform" is the buzzword as China convenes its legislature.

China struggles to reassure G20 delegates in Shanghai

Feb 25, 2016
A plunging stock market made it difficult for Chinese hosts to reassure the G20.

Apple Pay debuts in China

Feb 18, 2016
Apple's mobile payment system faces stiff competition in the world's second-largest economy.
A display explaining that purchases can be made using Apple Pay, as well as other formats, at an Apple store in Shanghai.
STR/AFP/Getty Images