Mary Kay Magistad

Mary Kay Magistad is formerly The World’s East Asia correspondent. She lived and reported in the region for two decades. Mary Kay is now based in San Francisco.

During her time in Asia, she traveled regularly and widely throughout China and beyond, exploring how China’s rapid transformation has affected individual lives and exploring the bigger geopolitical, economic and environmental implications of China’s rise. She stepped back every so often to do an in-depth series on such topics as the China’s urbanization — the biggest and most rapid move from the countryside to the cities in human history, on the potential for innovation in China, and on the ripple effects on Chinese society of the One Child Generation coming of age. Mary Kay’s seven-part series on that subject, called “Young China,” won a 2007 Overseas Press Club Award, one of several awards she has received.

Mary Kay started out in Southeast Asia, based in Bangkok, as a regular contributor to NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and other news media. She covered the Cambodian civil war and the UN peace process, the Burmese army’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and the United States’ wary rapprochement in the early ‘90s with Vietnam. Mary Kay also reported farther afield, covering the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, tensions with Iraq in Kuwait, and other stories.

Mary Kay became NPR’s full-time Southeast Asia correspondent in 1993, and in 1996 she opened NPR’s first Beijing bureau. She took time out for two fellowships at Harvard — a Nieman and a Radcliffe fellowship — enough time to realize China was too interesting a story to leave — before going back to China for The World.

Mary Kay graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in journalism and history, and has an MA in international relations from the University of Sussex in England, completed on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship.

Recent Stories

Development & Education

Why having more black leaders in science and tech will boost America's future

As the nation's first African American president winds up his tenure with majority approval ratings, African Americans in science and tech are increasingly ascending to leadership positions in their own fields. But systemic problems, from childhood education on up, are still making it tough to get representative numbers of African Americans into science, technology, engineering and math.

Politics

In (?) We Trust

One of the taller tasks facing President-elect Donald Trump is to find ways to restore faith in an office, and in a government, that he helped degrade. But he didn't do it alone. American trust in government and other institutions has been sliding for years. Weighing in on why, and how to move forward, is Garry Wills, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, and author of many books and essays on faith, trust and politics.

Conflict & Justice

Borders, belonging, identity, immigration and refugees in Ireland and Germany

Trace your family tree back far enough, and you'll likely find an immigrant or a refugee. Even seemingly homogenous populations, like Ireland's, have had plenty of them over time, coming in and going out. Germany is now integrating almost a million refugees who have come in over the past year. In the face of such changes, how do people in each country consider, expand or defend their identities?