Mr. Southerland oversees all day-to-day newsgathering and broadcasting by RFA services and is chiefly responsible for all long-term editorial projects, planning, and quality control. He also oversees all editorial-related personnel and operational matters.
Prior to joining RFA, Mr. Southerland spent 18 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia and is recognized as one of America’s most respected reporters on Asian affairs. He was The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beijing from 1985-90, where he covered China’s economic reforms, political developments, human rights, and the Tiananmen Square uprising in June 1989. He also covered business and energy issues for The Washington Post’s financial section.
Mr. Southerland worked previously for 13 years with The Christian Science Monitor, based in Saigon, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C, covering the Vietnam War, conflicts in Laos and Cambodia, the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, and the fall of Saigon.
In Washington, he was the Monitor’s diplomatic correspondent. In that role, Mr. Southerland covered five secretaries of state and traveled to more than 40 countries. He also reported for United Press International while living in Asia and covered the India-Pakistan War in 1971.
In 1995, Mr. Southerland was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for distinguished diplomatic reporting for a series on the Mao years in China. Other honors include a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1990 for his coverage of Tiananmen, and an Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship in 1990-91.
He holds a B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He studied the Chinese and Japanese languages at Harvard.
Mr. Southerland has a working-level knowledge of several Asian languages, including Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. He has worked in all of RFA’s target countries except North Korea and has reported extensively from South Korea.