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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President Trump welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the White House in May 2019. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

After Trump, Europe's Populist Leaders Will Have 'Lost One Of Their Cheerleaders'

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Europe's Populist Leaders Have A Hard Time Accepting Trump Loss

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Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen here on Oct. 29, told Germans this week, "We're in for a tough winter." New cases of the coronavirus have been hovering at about 20,000 per day recently. Michael Kappeler/Picture Alliance via Getty Images hide caption

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Facing Trump Pressure, EU Invested More In Own Defense. Will It Continue With Biden?

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Protesters gather outside Poland's Supreme Court in January, demonstrating against the government's efforts to curtail the judiciary's independence. The European Commission is investigating Poland and Hungary for violating standards of democracy and rule of law. Czarek Sokolowski/AP hide caption

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Czarek Sokolowski/AP

Much recent international media attention has been focused on the U.S. presidential elections, like this live news report showing on an outdoor screen in Hong Kong. Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images hide caption

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Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

All Eyes On US

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Polish Women Continue Protesting A Court Decision To Outlaw Nearly All Abortions

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Schools In Germany Remain Open Amid A New Lockdown

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How Europe Is Reacting To The U.S. Election

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Authorities Investigate Terror Attack In Austrian Capital

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European Countries Revive Restrictions To Battle COVID-19 Spike

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As U.S.-China Relations Worsen, Germany Looks Out For Its Own Interests

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2020 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded To World Food Programme

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