Shai Oster Of The Wall Street Journal Wins Asia Society Osborn Elliott Journalism Prize

NEW YORK, May 20, 2008 - The Asia Society is pleased to announce that Shai Oster of the Wall Street Journal has won the Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia. The prize was awarded for a series of stories exposing environmental problems associated with China's Three Gorges Dam project. The $10,000 cash prize will be presented to Mr. Oster at a luncheon program to be held on June 17, 2008 at Asia Society in New York.

Mr. Oster's stories, the results of three months of reporting, were praised as "bold, thorough, and as tremendously informative as they are readable" by Norman Pearlstine, Senior Advisor at the Carlyle Group and former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc., who chairs the independent jury that selects the winner. "Mr. Oster's stories went to the heart of the unexpected consequences of the Three Gorges Dam, eliciting an unprecedented response from readers in China as well as the government, which reportedly stated that problems raised in the articles ‘merit adequate attention from all of us.'"

The jury also gave a special citation to the New York Times Beijing Bureau, which dedicated its five China correspondents as well as three photographers and a videographer to its extensive reporting on China's massive environmental challenges. The resulting stories were translated into Chinese on and accompanied by online question-and-answer sessions with reporters, interactive maps, and photographic slide shows.

Mr. Oster is a Beijing-based correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, covering energy and the environment. He has won several awards in more than a decade as a journalist in China, Europe, and the US, writing about a broad range of economic, business, and social issues. Before joining the Journal's China Bureau, Mr. Oster covered OPEC for Dow Jones Newswires in London. He previously served as Beijing bureau chief for Asiaweek magazine and as Beijing correspondent for the Bureau of National Affairs and the San Francisco Chronicle. The recipient of the George Polk Award for environmental reporting in 2008, he was also part of a team of Wall Street Journal reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for International Reporting on China. A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Oster was born in Jerusalem and speaks Hebrew, French, and Chinese.

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 for the best example of journalism about Asia in print or online during the calendar year.

Previous winners have included Evan Osnos of the Chicago Tribune (2007), Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times and Matthew McAllester of Newsday (2006), Philip P. Pan of the Washington Post (2005), John Pomfret of the Washington Post (2004), and Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times (2003).

In addition to Mr. Pearlstine, the Oz Prize jury includes Carroll Bogert, Associate Director for Human Rights Watch; Marcus Brauchli, consultant, News Corp. and former Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal; Henry Cornell, Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Barbara Crossette, writer on Asian affairs and former New York Times chief correspondent in South and Southeast Asia; Dorinda Elliott, Deputy Editor, Special Projects, Condé Nast Traveler; Chrystia Freeland, Managing Editor and columnist, Financial Times; Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Senior Editor, Hindustan Times and 2007 Bernard Schwartz Fellow, Asia Society; Carla Anne Robbins, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, the New York Times; Josh Tyrangiel, Assistant Managing Editor, TIME magazine and Editor,; Sheryl WuDunn, Vice President, Investment Management Division, Goldman Sachs & Co. and former New York Times foreign correspondent and editor.

Shai Oster's Journalism 

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 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Seoul, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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Contact: Elaine Merguerian, 212-327-9271. 


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