Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk
Education (Bachelor's degree),
(Master's degree in International relations)
Doctorate Honorary
Alma mater Princeton University,
University of Chicago &
University of Maryland University College
Occupation Correspondent, Journalist & Author
Organization National Press Club (Washington), Foreign Correspondents' Club (Hong Kong), Institute for Corean-American Studies, Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Overseas Press Club of America, International House of Japan, Authors Guild of America, Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Journalists and Authors
Awards Overseas Press Club of America Award (1974)
George Polk Awards (1975)
Edward Scott Beck award (1974)
Chicago Newspaper Guild Page-One Award (1962)

Donald Kirk is a veteran correspondent and noted author on conflict and crisis from Southeast Asia to the Middle East to Northeast Asia. Don has covered wars from Vietnam to Iraq, focusing on political, diplomatic, economic and social as well as military issues. He is also known for his reporting on North Korea, including the nuclear crisis, human rights and payoffs from South to North Korea preceding the June 2000 inter-Korean summit.[1]

After several years as a metro reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Post, Don went to Asia as a correspondent in Indonesia in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” 1965–1966, including the fall of Sukarno and mass killings in Java and Bali.[2] He covered Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the late 1960s and early 1970s, first for the old Washington (DC) Star and then for the Chicago Tribune, reporting on the Tet Offensive, the downfall of Prince Sihanouk and the U.S. incursion into Cambodia (1970), and the Easter Offensive in Vietnam (1972).[3] He also wrote articles for The New York Times Magazine[4] and two books before gravitating to northeast Asia.[5]

Don was correspondent for The Observer (London) in Japan and Korea in the late 1970s and 1980s, covering the assassination of President Park Chung-hee of Korea in 1979, the Gwangju revolt in 1980, and financial, diplomatic and political issues in Japan for the Observer and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. He covered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 from Beirut and Tel Aviv, then joined USA Today in August as the paper’s first world editor. For USA Today, he ranged from Europe to Korea, reporting on war in Lebanon, revolt in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the fall of Ceausescu in Rumania, the democracy revolt in Korea in 1987, the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing in 1988, and the Gulf War from Baghdad, including the U.S. bombing, in 1989 and 1990.[6][7]

After publishing an unauthorized biography of Chung Ju-yung, founder of the Hyundai empire, Don returned to Korea as correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, 1997–2003, and for the Christian Science Monitor and CBS Radio, since 2004. He has been covering the sinking of the South Korean navy ship Cheonan, the North Korean nuclear issue, anti-American protests, U.S.-Korea trade disputes and Korean politics, has visited North Korea eight times and reported for CBS from Baghdad in 2004.[8]


Don splits his time between Seoul, Washington and London, reporting from and on Korea for CBS Radio and the Christian Science Monitor, writing the “Global View” column for Future Korea Weekly and filing for the Asia Times. He also writes articles and commentaries for magazines and newspapers, including Forbes and Institutional Investor, of which he is a contributing editor, the World Tribune, which he serves on the editorial board, the Los Angeles Times, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and The Providence Journal. He contributes expert analysis on Korea for Al Jazeera, Press TV and numerous American radio stations. He has written in recent years for the New Leader, Far Eastern Economic Review, the Korea Policy Review (Kennedy School, Harvard), the Korea Observer and numerous others. He has been a contributing editor of the Kyoto Journal, is a contributing editor of Future Korea Weekly and on the board of advisers of Asia-Pacific Business & Technology Report.[9]


Don won the Overseas Press Club of America Award, 1974, Asia reporting, for articles in the Chicago Tribune on the grim future for South Vietnam after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1973;[10] the George Polk Award foreign reporting, 1975, for articles exposing corruption in Vietnam and Cambodia;[11] the Chicago Tribune’s Edward Scott Beck award, 1974; two Overseas Press Club citations, the Chicago Newspaper Guild Page-One Award for feature-writing, 1962, and others.

Professional organizations

Don is a Silver Owl member of the National Press Club (Washington),[12] a life member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, a fellow of the Institute for Corean-American Studies[13] and has served six terms on the board of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club. He is also a member of the Overseas Press Club of America, the International House of Japan, the Authors Guild of America,[14] the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.[15]


Don holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago and an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Maryland University College. He has had a Ford fellowship at Columbia University’s advanced international reporting program, 1964–1965, an Edward R. Murrow fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, 1974–1975,[16] and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant at MIT, summer 1978. He was a Fulbright scholar in India, 1962–1963, Fulbright senior research scholar in the Philippines, 1994–1995, and a visiting fellow in Cornell’s Southeast Asia program, 1986-1988.



  1. Donald Kirk (2011-04-30). Time to wise up on North Korea. The Asia Times, retrieved August 25, 2011
  2. "The Year of Living Dangerously". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  3. Donald Kirk (2010-03-23). Donald Kirk: Vanished in a time of killing. The Projo Website, retrieved June 6, 2010
  4. Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959 - 1975 Reporting Vietnam: Paperback Edition. The Library of America, retrieved June 6, 2010
  5. Donald Kirk KJ Special On-line Features: Looking Back at the Tet Offensive. The Kyoto Journal, retrieved June 6, 2010
  6. MacArthur, John R. (2004), Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War (1st ed.), California: University of California Press
  7. Susan Jeffords, Lauren Rabinovitz, “Seeing Through the Media: The Persian Gulf War,” p. 127
  8. "A Conversation with Writer and Journalist Donald Kirk on his book, Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine | Center for Strategic and International Studies". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  9. "Home | Asia-Pacific Business and Technology Report". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  10. "OPC Awards Past Recipients | Overseas Press Club of America". 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  11. "Search - Long Island University". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  12. Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "ICAS Fellow Roster". 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  14. " Home". The Authors Guild. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  15. "President's Letter 2008-04". ASJA. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  16. "Former Edward R. Murrow Press Fellows - Council on Foreign Relations". Retrieved 2012-02-26.


Articles or interviews about Donald Kirk

External links

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