New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs came to Claremont McKenna’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to talk about his experiences covering China-related issues in the Times’ Beijing bureau for nearly eight years.
Jacobs is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the Eliot Pitzer prostitution scandal. He also covered Google’s clash with the Chinese government over censorship issues in 2011.
Jacobs was invited by Professor Minxin Pei, who is a George R. Roberts Fellow and the Director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC. Pei has contributed to many of Jacobs’ studies.
Jacobs talked about important issues that China faces today including censorship, environmental problems, and treatment towards ethnic minorities. He also addressed the current challenges that both domestic and international journalists face regarding coverage about China, and his personal observations about China’s future.
Jacobs cited factors such as the increase in environmental activism and the abolition of the one-child policy as positive developments, but pointed to the continued tightening of government control and the presence of media censorship as negative trends.
Jacobs said this was his first time speaking at a U.S. college campus, and was “really impressed with the quality of students here.”
“I’m not really a natural public speaker so it was a little nerve-racking,” he admitted. “I can answer questions better than I can just speak. So I was happy to answer questions.”
Christina Ge CM ’20 said her favorite part was watching a video he took based on the time he experienced a local violent resistance at a Chinese village.
“The videos show more than words could describe and gave me direct insight into his experiences,” Ge said.