JIM LAURIE

Biography

Jim Laurie has been a journalist, broadcaster, producer, and media consultant for 50 years.

For nearly 30 years, Jim was an international correspondent for NBC News and ABC News.  He has reported from all continents of the world and covered some of the major stories of the late 20th Century - in Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Russia and South Africa.   

Since January 2005, Laurie has headed his consulting and production company - FocusAsia Productions Ltd.  

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Jim began his career freelancing in radio news and then in print for the Washington Post and the Far Eastern Economic Review before moving into television in the mid 1970's. 

His first assignments in Asia landed him in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970 to cover the Indochina War. He became the only American network correspondent to witness the communist take over of Saigon at the end of April 1975.  His reporting then for NBC News earned him several major television commendations including a George Foster Peabody Award.

Jim roamed the world as a television correspondent for NBC News and ABC News. He reported from Tokyo, Beijing, Manila, Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, Moscow, London, Beirut, Sarajevo, Tel Aviv, Iraq, South Africa, Somalia and dozens of other datelines.

In summer 1981 he opened the first American television news bureau in Beijing.

In 1983 he was a witness to the assassination of Philippine leader Benigno Aquino.

In May-June 1989 he covered the student movement and military crackdown in China.

In 1991, he witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1994, he reported on the democratic transition in South Africa from white rule to ANC leadership under Nelson Mandela.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India, Premier Deng Xiaoping of China, King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, President Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia, President Boris Yeltsin of Russia, President Jiang Zemin of China, and the Dalai Lama are among the international leaders Jim has interviewed over the years.

In 2000, Jim moved from daily television news reporting to management, joining the News Corp owned STAR TV network as it was developing news and current affairs content and launching 24 x 7 news channels in India. From 1999 to 2005, he produced an award-winning current affairs programme -- FOCUS ASIA, which was seen both in Asia and on more than 30 channels of the American Public Broadcasting System.

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Since 2005 as a consultant, Jim has advised on the launch of the Times Now news channel in Mumbai (2005) and conducted training sessions for the Aaj Tak Headlines Today channel in Delhi (2006-07), Xinhua, and China Central Television in Beijing. 

In 2010, a consultancy with CCTV Beijing was extended to assist in the development of its English news channel and the opening in 2012 of a new television and digital production center in Washington D.C. now known as CGTN America.   In 2018-2019, Jim consulted on the launch of a new CGTN production center in London housed at Chiswick Park.  Jim's consultancies focused on staff recruiting,  programming, organization and media strategy.

In 2008-2009, Jim advised on the management of the Asia operations of the Al Jazeera English Channel and served as Acting Asia Bureau Chief in Kuala Lumpur. He has also provided on-air talent consulting services to CNNI, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV.

In September 2005, Laurie joined the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong to build a radio and television teaching and production program.

He served as Director of the Broadcast Program. From 2006 through 2011, he taught courses on international television and its impact on public policy, Media and China, as well classes in TV news writing and reporting.

Jim has presented, produced and/or written hour-long, television documentaries including Cambodia: This Shattered Land (1980), Japan: Myths Behind the Miracle (1981), China‚Äôs Yellow River (1987), Vietnam: 25 years On (2000), and Earth Factor Making a Difference (2009). Among the TV programs released in 2008 were an Asian business leaders series seen on BBC World News and an environmental series, Earth Factor Asia, seen on California Public Television. His film Cambodia Surgical Ward aired on BBC World News in 2010 and again in January 2011.

Jim has been the recipient of a number of awards for radio and television journalism including multiple Emmies, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Peabody Award, New York Festival prizes as well as Amnesty International Awards for human rights reporting.

He is a frequent lecturer on topics of history of Vietnam, Cambodia and China as well as global media.

Jim Laurie is a graduate, with a BA in History and certificate in Asian Studies, of the American University in Washington D.C. He carried out postgraduate studies under the late Professor Gaston Sigur at George Washington University's Sino-Soviet Institute in 1973-74.

 

[Updated September 2019]