JIM LAURIE

Biography

Jim Laurie has been a journalist and broadcaster for nearly 40 years.

Since January 2005, Laurie has headed his consulting and production company - FocusAsia Productions Ltd. As a consultant, he 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) and China Central Television in Beijing (2007-09).

In 2010, his consultancy with CCTV Beijing was extended to assist in the development of its English news channel and the opening in 2012 of a new broadcast center in Washington D.C.  

In 2008 and 2009, Laurie 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 coaching services to CNBC, CNN, 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, as well classes in TV news writing and reporting.

Laurie began his career freelancing in radio 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 to cover the Indochina War. He was the only American network correspondent present 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 awards.

For 25 years, Laurie roamed the world as a television correspondent for NBC News and ABC News, reporting from Tokyo, Beijing, Manila, Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, Moscow, London, Beirut, Sarajevo, Tel Aviv, Iraq, South Africa, Somalia and dozens of other datelines. In 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 fall 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 Laurie has interviewed over the years.

In 1999, Laurie moved from daily television news reporting to management, joining the News Corporation 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.

Laurie has presented, produced and/or written hour-long, television documentaries including Cambodia: This Shattered Land (1980), Japan: Myths Behind the Miracle (1981), China’s 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. A documentary entitled Cambodia O.R. AKA Cambodia Surgical Ward aired on BBC World News in 2010 and again in January 2011.

Laurie is the winner of a number of awards for radio and television journalism including two Emmies, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Peabody Award for his 1975 Vietnam War coverage as well as Amnesty International Awards for human right reporting.

He is a frequent lecturer on topics of international television.

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 January 2013]