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Asia Society Awards Osborn Elliott Journalism Prize To Evan Osnos For Examining The Global Effects of China's Growth

Apr 25, 2007
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Paul Watson, Los Angeles Times and Jonathan Watts, The Observer/The Guardian receive Honorable Mentions

NEW YORK CITY, April 25, 2007 - Asia Society is pleased to announce that Evan Osnos of the Chicago Tribune has won the prestigious Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia. The prize was awarded for Osnos’ three-part series, titled “China’s Great Grab,” examining how U.S. and global demand for Chinese goods is reshaping the world. The $10,000 cash award will be presented to Mr. Osnos at a luncheon program to be held June 11 at Asia Society’s world headquarters in New York.

Chaired by Norman Pearlstine, Senior Advisor at The Carlyle Group and former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc., the independent jury that oversees the award selection process decided to award honorable mentions for the first time in recognition of two outstanding entries: Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times for his series on conflict and corruption in Afghanistan and Jonathan Watts of The Guardian and The Observer for his series on urbanization and development in China.

In announcing the award, Mr. Pearlstine praised Mr. Osnos for his tenacity in traveling to the far corners of Asia—the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, and the oil-rich steppe of Kazakhstan—to piece together untold stories and unimaginable consequences of U.S. demand for low-cost goods. For example, Osnos meticulously documented how hunger for inexpensive cashmere sweaters has triggered overgrazing, fueling dust storms from China’s Alashan Plateau heavy enough to carry air pollution back to U.S. consumers.

“The jury proudly awards this year’s Osborn Elliott prize to Mr. Osnos for his unique series on how China’s exploding appetite for natural resources is reshaping the world,” said Pearlstine. “His ability to trace the reverberations of broad and complex issues, showing their tangible everyday effects on the lives of readers, is at the heart of truly effective civic journalism and truly embodies the spirit of this award.”

Evan Osnos is the Chicago Tribune's Beijing Bureau Chief. Prior to arriving in Beijing in June 2005, he served two years as Middle East correspondent, reporting mostly from Iraq. Between March 2003 and February 2005, 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 overseas postings, he was a national correspondent based in the New York bureau, where he covered the events and aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Osnos joined the Tribune in June 1999 as a Metro reporter. He has twice received the Tribune's top awards for foreign and national correspondents. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

The “Oz Prize” honors legendary journalist and author Osborn Elliott, former Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek, a leading figure in the field of journalism who became one of the earliest practitioners of “civic journalism”—the deliberate focusing of the journalistic enterprise on urgent issues of public policy. The Oz Prize is awarded annually to a writer who has produced the best example of journalism about Asia in print or online during the calendar year.

Previous winners have included Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times (2006) and Matthew McAllester of Newsday (2006); Philip P. Pan (2005) and John Pomfret (2004) of The Washington Post; and Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times (2003). Criteria for the prize include the impact of the work, its originality, creativity, depth of research and educational value in informing the public about Asia.

In addition to Mr. Pearlstine, the jury for the Osborn Elliott Prize includes Carroll R. Bogert, Associate Director, Human Rights Watch; Ian Buruma, author and Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College; Asia Society Trustee Henry Cornell, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs; Barbara Crossette, author and contributor to The New York Times; Joe Klein, author and columnist, TIME Magazine; Manjeet Kripalani, India Bureau Chief, BusinessWeek and Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Joseph Lelyveld, former Executive Editor of The New York Times; Seth Lipsky, Editor of The New York Sun; Josh Tyrangiel, Assistant Managing Editor, TIME Magazine and Editor of Time.com; and Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International.

About Asia Society

Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.asiasociety.org.

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Contact: Deanna Lee or Elaine Merguerian, (212) 327-9271