Evan Osnos, a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer for The New Yorker, will deliver the 33rd Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on Nov. 14, 2013. The annual lecture honors an American overseas correspondent or commentator on foreign affairs.
Osnos reported from China from 2005 to 2013, first as the Beijing bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune and then as China correspondent for The New Yorker, starting in 2008. At the Nieman Foundation, Osnos will speak about the profound political, economic and cultural changes he witnessed in China, censorship, and the current climate for both foreign and Chinese journalists working in the country.
Nieman curator Ann Marie Lipinski, who was editor of the Chicago Tribune during Osnos’s time there said, “Evan is one of the finest correspondents of his generation, a journalist who has delivered thoughtful reporting from every country he has reported on. His years in China for the Tribune and The New Yorker were especially remarkable, yielding stories of great complexity and nuance from a region he knows especially well. Evan is moreover a generous colleague and we are honored to welcome him back to Harvard.”
While covering China, Osnos reported on a wide range of stories and penned the “Letter from China” blog at newyorker.com for four years. He also wrote stories from other parts of Asia. His reconstruction of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan, “The Fallout,” won a 2012 Overseas Press Club Award.
Osnos additionally has worked as a contributor to public radio’s “This American Life” and as a correspondent for the PBS series “Frontline/World.”
At the Chicago Tribune, he contributed to the Tribune’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning series on America’s troubled air travel system, “Gateway to Gridlock,” and to a series that exposed faulty governmental regulation of toys, car seats and cribs, which won the 2008 Pulitzer for investigative reporting. His work also has received the Asia Society’s Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia and the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2007.
Prior to his work in China, Osnos was Middle East correspondent for the Tribune, reporting mostly from Iraq. He covered the U.S. invasion, the fall of Baghdad, the rise of the insurgency and the country’s first post-war elections. Based in Cairo, he later reported from Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.
Before his postings overseas, he was a national correspondent for the Tribune, based in New York, where he reported on the events and aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Osnos joined the paper in 1999 as a Metro reporter.
His work appears in anthologies of the best American writing on science and religion and his 2008 profile of young Chinese nationalists is included in “Chinese Characters: Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land.”
Osnos is now based in Washington D.C. His book about China’s rise, titled “Age of Ambition,” will be published in May 2014. He is a 1998 graduate of Harvard University and tweets at @eosnos.
The Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture honors the Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent who was killed while covering the Iranian Revolution in Tehran in February 1979. In the fall of 1981, Morris posthumously received the Nieman Fellows’ Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity. The lectureship in his name was created in 1981 by his family, Harvard classmates and friends.
Morris was a member of the Harvard class of 1949. After working as a local reporter at The Hartford Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, he worked at Newsweek and later the Los Angeles Times. He reported from the Middle East for 25 years.
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,400 accomplished and promising journalists from 92 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that explores contemporary challenges and opportunities in journalism; the Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.