Rob Schmitz Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin.
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Rob Schmitz

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Rob Schmitz 2016
Julian de Hauteclocque Howe/NPR

Rob Schmitz

International Correspondent, Berlin

Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany's levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic.

Prior to covering Europe, Schmitz provided award-winning coverage of China for a decade, reporting on the country's economic rise and increasing global influence. His reporting on China's impact beyond its borders took him to countries such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. Inside China, he's interviewed elderly revolutionaries, young rappers, and live-streaming celebrity farmers who make up the diverse tapestry of one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road (Crown/Random House 2016), a profile of individuals who live, work, and dream along a single street that runs through the heart of China's largest city. The book won several awards and has been translated into half a dozen languages. In 2018, China's government banned the Chinese version of the book after its fifth printing. The following year it was selected as a finalist for the Ryszard Kapuściński Award, Poland's most prestigious literary prize.

Schmitz has won numerous awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow Awards and an Education Writers Association Award. His work was also a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His reporting in Japan — from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami — was included in the publication 100 Great Stories, celebrating the centennial of Columbia University's Journalism School. In 2012, Schmitz exposed the fabrications in Mike Daisey's account of Apple's supply chain on This American Life. His report was featured in the show's "Retraction" episode. In 2011, New York's Rubin Museum of Art screened a documentary Schmitz shot in Tibetan regions of China about one of the last living Tibetans who had memorized "Gesar of Ling," an epic poem that tells of Tibet's ancient past.

From 2010 to 2016, Schmitz was the China correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace. He's also worked as a reporter for NPR Member stations KQED, KPCC and MPR. Prior to his radio career, Schmitz lived and worked in China — first as a teacher for the Peace Corps in the 1990s, and later as a freelance print and video journalist. He also lived in Spain for two years. He speaks Mandarin and Spanish. He has a bachelor's degree in Spanish literature from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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Hungarians Grow Frustrated With Prime Minister's Close Relationship With China

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A Froggyland diorama shows a teacher trying to control a class in which students are hitting each other with rulers, arriving late to class and balancing pencils on their noses. Each diorama displays anthropomorphized frogs in human scenes of the early 20th century. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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Welcome To Froggyland, The Croatian Taxidermy Museum That May Soon Come To The U.S.

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What The Pandemic Now Looks Like In Germany, Kenya And Colombia

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addresses the media Friday in Berlin. Germany has reached an agreement with Namibia that will see it officially recognize as genocide the colonial-era killings of tens of thousands of people and commit to spending $1.3 billion, largely on development projects. Tobias Schwarz/AP hide caption

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EU Considers Repercussions Against Belarus For Airline Incident

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Dubrovnik's city wall is the biggest tourist draw to the city, especially for Game of Thrones fans, as many scenes were filmed atop the wall. But since the pandemic began, the wall has been largely empty. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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Croatia's Economy Needs Tourists. It's Now Opening The Doors To Vaccinated Americans

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A Uyghur woman protests the detainment of Uyghur citizens following ethnic unrest in the Xinjiang region, China. Guang Niu/Getty Images hide caption

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Poll: Much Of The World Sees The U.S. As A Threat To Democracy

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Sylvia Falkner stands in front of her Berlin pub, Metzer Eck, which has been owned by four generations of the same family since 1913. She is one of thousands of small German business owners struggling to keep their businesses open in an extended pandemic lockdown. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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Germany's Small Business Owners Fight To Survive Amid Fears Of A Wave Of Insolvency

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German Bankruptcy Officials Worry About Build-Up Of 'Zombie Businesses'

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COVID-19 Surge Forces European Countries To Reintroduce Restrictions

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After Countries In Europe Suspended It, Experts Conclude AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe

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Criticism Grows As Countries In Europe Suspend The Use Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine

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After Slow Start, More Germans Are Getting COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

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Radio journalists work in the studio at the headquarters of the independent Hungarian radio station, the Klubradio in Budapest on Feb. 9. It was removed from the airways after the national media regulator would not renew its license, raising new press freedom concerns in the European Union member state. Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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As Hungary Cuts Radio Station, Critics Say Europe Should Put Orban On Notice

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