Howard W. French

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For the British newspaper editor, see Howard French (UK journalist).
Howard French
Born Howard Waring French
(1957-10-14) October 14, 1957 (age 57)
Washington, DC
Status married
Occupation journalist, author, photographer, Columbia University professor
Notable credit(s) The New York Times; A Continent for the Taking (book)
Spouse(s) Agnès French

Howard Waring French (born 1957) is a journalist, author, and photographer, as well as an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was most recently a senior foreign correspondent with The New York Times.


French taught at university in the Ivory Coast in the 1980s before becoming a reporter. He has reported extensively on the political affairs of Western and Central Africa. These reports were the basis for the book A Continent for the Taking.

French has also reported on the political and social affairs in China, where he covered on the government crackdown of dissent in the Dongzhou protests of 2005. His most recent work for The New York Times is centered on China where he was the paper's Shanghai bureau chief.

French was New York Times bureau chief for the Caribbean and Central America from 1990 to 1994; he covered Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and numerous other countries.

From 1994 to 1998, French covered West and Central Africa for the Times, reporting on wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Central Africa, with particular attention to the fall of the longtime dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko.

In addition to his native English, French is fluent in Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese.[1] He became Tokyo bureau chief for the Times in 1999, after a year studying Japanese at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. He is presently collaborating with The New York Review of Books and he also contributes frequently to The Atlantic.

In addition to covering China as Shanghai Bureau Chief for the Times, French worked as a weekly columnist on regional affairs for The International Herald Tribune. French is the author of "A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa," which was published in 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf, and of "China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa", published by Knopf in 2014. French is an internationally exhibited documentary photographer, whose multi-year project called "Disappearing Shanghai", photographing the rapidly shrinking old quarters of Shanghai, was shown in Asia, Europe and the United States. A book containing this work, Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life, was published in 2012, in collaboration with the novelist and poet Qiu Xiaolong.[2]


  1. ^ Davies, Dave (May 27, 2014). "China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers". Fresh Air. 1:10 minutes in. NPR.
  2. ^ French, Howard W. (photography); Xiaolong, Qiu (poetry) (2012). Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life (1st ed.). Homa & Sekey Books. ISBN 1931907811. 

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