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 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.  

In 2020, Jim is completing a memoir of his earliest days in Cambodia and Vietnam 1970-1975.  The book is to be published in late August. 

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Jim began his career freelancing in radio news (Metromedia and NBC News) and 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. After flying out of Phnom Penh on the American helicopter evacuation of April 12, 1975, he returned to Vietnam.   He became the only American network correspondent to witness the communist take over of Saigon at the end of April.  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.

 

Global leaders who Jim Laurie has interviewed over the years include India's Indira Gandhi, China's Deng Xiaoping, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin, Cambodia's Norodom Sihanouk, the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and the Dalai Lama.

 

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 has engaged in various projects with the Aaj Tak Headlines Today channel in Delhi (2006-07), Xinhua in Beijing, and China's Central Television and CGTN in Beijing, Washington, and London (2010-2019). 

Jim's consultancies focus on staff recruiting,  programming, workflow organization, training and media strategy.

In 2008-2009, Jim advised on the management of the Asia operations of the Al Jazeera English Channel. He served as Acting Asia Bureau Chief in Kuala Lumpur. He has also provided on-air talent consulting services to CNNI, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV.     He also developed content (2010-2015) for BBC World News and the Huffington Post.

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.   He is currently completing a memoir focusing on his early period as a reporter in Cambodia and Vietnam 1970 to 1975.   

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  June 2020]