Alum endows national journalism awards at COM
By Tim Stoddard
When Hugo Shong came to BU from China in 1986, he arrived on campus with $30 in his pocket. With support from friends and a part-time job, Shong (COM’87, GRS’90) made ends meet while studying journalism and international relations on a full scholarship. Now Shong is returning the favor to his alma mater by endowing two international journalism awards to be administered annually by the College of Communication, one for lifetime achievement, the other for reporting on Asian affairs. The pledge is the largest individual gift ever presented to COM.
An award-winning reporter, Shong is senior vice president of International Data Group, Inc. (IDG), whose 250 magazines and newspapers in 85 countries make it the world’s largest technology publisher, and president of IDG’s Asian-Pacific operations. At IDG, he launched a number of publications, such as Cosmopolitan China, PC World Vietnam, and the Chinese editions of Esquire and Good Housekeeping.
“Coming to BU was one of the most important changes in my career and my life,” he says, “and I’m very grateful to COM for that. I have established these awards to give back to Boston University and to honor those journalists who effectively decipher Asian affairs for western audiences. I have a special interest in recognizing outstanding reporting on issues relating to China.”
The first annual Hugo Shong Lifetime Journalism Achievement Award will be presented this fall to a print or broadcast journalist whose body of work exemplifies the highest quality of reporting and analysis. The selection committee will consist of John Schulz, dean of COM, faculty from the COM department of journalism, one or more distinguished local or national journalists, and one BU faculty member not affiliated with the college. The award carries a $35,000 prize.
Beginning in spring 2005, the Hugo Shong Journalist of the Year Award for Reporting on Asia will be presented annually to a print journalist who during the previous year has displayed outstanding reporting on Asian issues. It comes with a $15,000 prize.
“This generous prize from Hugo, who has succeeded so well since graduating from our journalism program, provides us with an important gift and a wonderful way to highlight the program,” says Schulz.
Shong was a graduate student in journalism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing before coming to BU. On the first day of orientation, he met with the late Jim Thomson, a COM professor, who asked Shong to become a teaching assistant for his course Reporting Revolution in China and Vietnam. That experience helped him land a job in 1991 at Cahners Publishing Company in Newton. (On his first day at Cahners, his Chinese fluency helped the company launch the Chinese version of the journal Electronic Business.) “Without the experience from COM,” he says, “I would not have been able to find my first job.”
Shong met his wife, Luo Yan (CFA’90), while attending Boston University. An accomplished actress, producer, and owner of three entertainment companies, Luo recently produced and starred in Pavillion of Women, the first movie Universal Pictures ever filmed in China. In 2002, she pledged $50,000 to CFA to endow the Luo Yan Scholarship Fund, which will give a scholarship to one or two female CFA students of Asian descent majoring in theater performance or management.
Shong is active on alumni committees in Asia, organizing alumni events from Hong Kong and recruiting prospective students. He’s also been helping Asian students get a foothold in journalism at COM: in 1998, he established the Hugo Shong Scholarship Fund with a $50,000 pledge; in 2002, he pledged an additional $50,000 for the fund. The scholarship is for students of Asian descent studying journalism, film and television, or mass communication.
“Through his professional achievements since studying at Boston University and now with this magnanimous endowment, Hugo Shong is an exemplar of an alumnus of whom this school is most proud and to whom it is grateful,” says Christopher Reaske, vice president of development and alumni relations.
Shong sees it differently. “I got the best deal out of BU,” he says. “The University helped me launch my career in the United States and also meet my wife.”
13 May 2004