Veteran foreign correspondent Mary Kay Magistad has covered Southeast Asia and China for National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and other media over the past twelve years. Magistad was based in Bangkok and reported throughout Southeast Asia for seven years. She then opened NPR’s first Beijing bureau and covered a wide range of political, economic, cultural, and social issues, including Chinese war games preceding Taiwan’s first presidential elections, the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual sect, and increasing tensions in the Sino-US relationship.
During her years in East Asia, Magistad has taken a special interest in Cambodia, covering its civil war, peace process, and bumpy transition to democracy. She has focused especially on the long-term social impact of the brutal 1975–1979 Khmer Rouge reign, which wiped out almost one-fourth of the Cambodian population. Magistad will work on a book, tentatively titled “Pol Pot’s Shadow: Life After Death in Cambodia,” on the social legacy of the Khmer Rouge era and the politics of memory related to it.
Magistad earned her BS in journalism at Northwestern University and an MA in international relations at Sussex University in England, completed on a Rotary Foundation fellowship. She was a 1999–2000 Nieman fellow at Harvard University.