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COM honors David Barboza

New York Times reporter and BU alum wins Hugo Shong award

Hugo Shong presents David Barboza with the award check. Photo by Patrice Flesch

The Chinese economy is booming, and David Barboza, economic correspondent for the New York Times in Shanghai, is reporting on market changes from the heart of the boom. In recognition of his work in China, the College of Communication has awarded Barboza (CAS’90) this year’s Hugo Shong Journalist of the Year Award for reporting on Asian affairs.

“I’m fortunate to have one of the best journalism jobs you could imagine,” says Barboza. “For nearly 20 years I thought about working as a foreign correspondent, perhaps for the New York Times and perhaps in China, and now it’s here and I’d like to make the most of this opportunity. I’d like to help readers get a better understanding of China and the dramatic transformation now under way here.”

Barboza, a writer for the New York Times business section since 1997 and its business and culture correspondent in China since 2004, was a member of the team that covered the Enron scandal, for which they were named as finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002. He has also covered the real estate boom currently under way in China, which he characterizes as “one of the great building booms in modern times,” whose scale is hard to imagine without witnessing it firsthand.

“The Chinese economic boom is arguably the most important business story, and David is at the head of the pack, writing with gusto and insight about crucial questions that are facing the country,” says Barboza’s New York Times editor Sherly WuDunn, who nominated him for the Hugo Shong prize. “His work rises above the rest because he tackles tough, major issues and then tells a story by knitting together telling details with explanations and real people, showing how the market is changing China.”

A class Barboza took at BU, Reporting the Revolutions: China and Vietnam, was the inspiration for his desire to be a foreign correspondent in China. Shong, incidentally, was the teaching assistant for the class.

“Right now, if you’re interested in business, there’s no better place to be in than China, and in this job, basically I have the freedom to roam the country and look into almost any industry,” says Barboza.

As for the $15,000 that accompanies the award, Barboza says, it’s not his to spend. “My wife is Chinese and she says that in China women handle all the money in the family so I’m obligated to hand it over.”

The award, which was established by Shong (COM’87, GRS’92) in spring 2005, is presented annually to a print journalist who during the previous year has displayed outstanding reporting on Asian issues. The recipients’ reports must be published in an English-language newspaper or news magazine. Shong also endows the annual $30,000 Hugo Shong Lifetime Journalism Achievement Award, presented first to ABC’s Ted Koppel in November 2004 and to Miami Herald managing editor Tom Fiedler (COM’71) the following year.

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