Stories from 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

Politics

America is divided — and that's by design

It used to be said that you could have your own opinion, but you couldn't have your own facts. But after decades of deliberate effort by some conservative Republicans to undermine public trust in government, the media and even in science, agreement about facts and even about the rules of the game in American democracy is not what it used to be. How did we get here? Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than it Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism" weighs in.

Arts, Culture & Media

Think you can predict the future? In the age of Trump, journalists offer a cautionary tale.

How much can you confidently predict about what will happen next week? Next year? In a decade? After the 2016 US election and Brexit vote, maybe less than you thought before. The future has always dished up surprises, but the road ahead isn't just a blind curve. Good journalism can help people think about the lessons of the past, and the signals in the present worth noticing. The World's newsroom has been doing that for 20 years. Whose Century Is It host and former East Asia correspondent for The World Mary Kay Magistad sits down with World host Marco Werman, reporter and editor Jeb Sharp and executive editor Andrew Sussman to talk about how the world's future looked in The World's early days, how it's changed since, and how to think about what might be coming up ahead.

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.