A journalist and broadcaster for more than 45 years, Jim Laurie is currently Director of the Media Consulting firm ‘Focus Asia Productions Ltd.’ He divides his time between Hong Kong and Washington DC. For 26 years he was a global correspondent for ABC News and NBC News. He is the winner of two Emmy Awards, a Peabody for his coverage of the Vietnam War, and an Overseas Press Club Award. From 2005 through 2011, he was Director of Broadcasting at the Journalism and Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong. He has specialized in the study of media in China.
Laurie has interviewed many historically influential Asian leaders including China’s Deng Xiaoping, the Dalai Lama, and Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihanouk. Since 2004, Laurie has specialized in the development of global television news channels. He has served as a consultant to three TV channels in India, the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera English Channel, and to China Central Television in Beijing. Currently he is advising on China’s growth as a media power in the United States. He is also the producer of recent documentaries including ‘Cambodia Surgical Ward’ for BBC World News in 2010 and the environmental film: ‘Earth Factor Asia: Making a Difference’ (KQED World San Francisco: February 2012). Earlier films include: ‘Vietnam: 25 Years Later’ (2000), ‘China’s Unruly Dragon’(1988), ‘Japan: Myths Behind the Miracle’ (1981) and ‘Cambodia: This Shattered Land.’ (1980)
As a journalist, Laurie has been witness to some of the defining moments in Asia’s history over the past 40 years. He was the only American network correspondent to cover the communist takeover of Saigon Vietnam on April 30, 1975. His role is portrayed in a new documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2014: ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ directed by Rory Kennedy, slated for television release in 2015. Laurie opened the first American television bureau in Beijing in July 1981. He reported from Beijing on the events of Tiananmen Square in June 1989. He continues to be a frequent visitor to China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. He speaks on a variety of Asia related issues.
Laurie offers a unique inside perspective on China’s effort to match its economic strength with a concerted effort to influence you. Not only you … but people all over the world from Nairobi to Manila. As a consultant to China Central Television since 2009, Laurie has helped shape China’s media drive outside China; into the home of millions of Americans on line and on air. The speaker traces the changes in China and its media since he first began covering the rising giant in 1978. Is China becoming more free or more repressive?
April 30, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the communist takeover of Vietnam. Laurie was the only American television network correspondent to witness the Fall of Saigon remaining in the South Vietnamese capital for nearly a month afterwards. He has been a frequent visitor to Vietnam since. His role in 1975 is portrayed in a new documentary by Director Rory Kennedy. The film ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ in theaters in Summer 2014 will air on PBS as part of the American Experience series in 2015. Laurie, in a talk accompanied by video from the era, speaks of the lasting impact of Vietnam, its history, and life in Vietnam today.
Traditional American television news is dying – replaced by the internet and talk TV in the fashion of O’Reilly, Hannity, Maddow, and ‘Crossfire.’ In its place however major Global players are rising; spending large sums of money to enter the American market. Hear how the Qataris, the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese and others are battling for your attention on air and on line. Laurie provides a rare inside look as he has provided consulting services to both Al Jazeera and China Central Television.
A few years ago the Obama Administration declared its intention to ‘rebalance’ its foreign and economic policy toward Asia. What does this mean for the United States and China? How does it fit into the history of US China and US Asia relations since President Nixon’s opening up to China in 1972?
Jim Laurie is in a unique position to provide a detailed talk on the history of the US China relations. In 1979, he accompanied Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on his ground breaking visit to the United States. In 1984, he accompanied President Ronald Reagan on his visit to China as Deng Xiaoping continued his policy of ‘modernization’ and engagement with the outside world. In 1989, Laurie covered the brutal crackdown of reform minded students and workers in what culminated in the ‘Tian An Men Massacre’ Supplemented with historical videos from these periods, Laurie provides a comprehensive look at the up and downs of US China relations.