Mary Kay Magistad



In 1995, Magistad opened National Public Radio (NPR)'s first Beijing Bureau. Since then, she has provided radio features and news reports on issues ranging from growing frustration and unrest among farmers and laid-off workers to ethnic tensions in the far-western province of Xinjiang to story-telling in traditional Chinese teahouses. Magistad is currently serving as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where she is conducting research on societies such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and post-Cultural Revolution China.

Magistad began her career as a freelance reporter. From 1986 to 1988 she traveled to many African and Asian countries where she reported on poverty, war, cultural and social issues. Her experience includes reporting for news services and newspapers such as the BBC Africa Service, The Globe & Mail of Canada, The Christian Science Monitor and The Independent of London. From 1988 to 1993, as freelance Southeast Asia correspondent, Magistad was a regular stringer for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, NPR and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio. During this period she covered the Cambodian civil war, the Thai coup of '91 and the resulting pro-democracy demonstrations in '92, as well as other ongoing issues in Southeast Asia. From 1993 to 1995 Magistad served as the NPR Southeast Asia correspondent with a particular focus on Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam. She provided news reports and documentaries on the UN peacekeeping operation in Cambodia, ethnic conflicts and continued repression of dissent in Burma, and Vietnam's attempts to open up its economy without changing its political system.

Magistad earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a second major in history from Northwestern University in 1983. She earned a master's degree in international relations from Sussex University, UK, in 1985 on a Rotary Foundation fellowship.






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