Richard Read

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Richard Read (born 1957) is the Seattle bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.[1] A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he was a senior writer and foreign correspondent for The Oregonian, working for the Portland, Oregon newspaper from 1981 to 1986 and 1989 until 2016.

Read has reported from more than 60 countries and all seven continents, covering wars in Cambodia and Afghanistan and disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Japan's 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. He won his first Pulitzer[2] in 1999, The Oregonian's first in 42 years, for explaining the Asian financial crisis by following a container of french fries from a Northwest farm to the Far East, in a series[3] that ended with riots presaging the Fall of Suharto.

Early life[edit]

Read was born in St Andrews, Scotland, to Katharine Read and Arthur Hinton Read,[4] a mountaineer and St. Andrews University mathematics professor who worked during World War II for the Government Code and Cypher School that cracked the codes in Germany's Enigma machine. He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1980 from Amherst College, where he edited The Amherst Student newspaper.


Read was press secretary in 1980 for the Ward Commission,[5] a Massachusetts crime commission that exposed widespread corruption and proposed reforms including campaign-finance legislation whose design he oversaw.[6] He moved to Portland in 1981 to become a reporter for The Oregonian.[7]

In 1986, Read was a Henry Luce Scholar in Bangkok, Thailand, working for a year as a reporter for The Nation, a Thai newspaper. In Bangkok, he played the bit part of an infantry colonel in the film, Good Morning, Vietnam. Read moved in 1987 to Japan, where he freelanced for The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Euromoney and the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Read became the first foreign correspondent for a Pacific Northwest newspaper when he opened The Oregonian’s Asia Bureau in Tokyo in 1989. He served on the board of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. He returned to America in 1994.[citation needed]

In 1996-1997, Read was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University. He was selected by the Eisenhower Fellowships for a month's reporting in Peru in 1998, interviewing President Alberto Fujimori.[8] He reported in North Korea in 1989 and 2007.[9] In fall 2013, Read and photographer Jamie Francis reported in Jordan and Lebanon on the plight of Syrian refugees.

Read left The Oregonian in 2016 after taking a buyout,[10] leaving words of advice to colleagues.[11]

In 2016, Read joined the public-interest investigative reporting team at NerdWallet,[12] a San Francisco company that helps consumers navigate personal finance. Team members investigated student-loan debt-relief companies, posting a Watch List of 150 businesses for borrowers to avoid. [13]


Read won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting in 1999[14] for a series that dramatized the global effects of the Asian financial crisis through the movement of a container of french fries from a Washington-state farm to a McDonald's restaurant in Singapore.[15] The series also received the Overseas Press Club award for best business reporting from abroad, the Scripps Howard Foundation award for business reporting and the Blethen award for enterprise reporting.[16][17]

In 2000 he received the Oregon governor’s award for achievement in international business, and in 1999 and 2002 he was named the state’s international citizen of the year. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Willamette University.[18]

In 2001, he was one of four reporters on a team that, with editorial writers, won The Oregonian the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for chronicling abuses by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.[19] The team also received the Bruce Baer award for investigative reporting, the Unity Media Award and the American Immigration Lawyers Association media leadership award.

In 2008, Read was a member of a team named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for reports on a breakthrough in production of microprocessors.[20] He won first-place awards for reporting on social issues (2001,2005), business (1998, 2004, 2011), spot news (1997), education (1990) from the Pacific Northwest Society of Professional Journalists.[21] [22]

In 2011, he won first place for Best of the West business and financial reporting.[23] In 2012, he won first place for best feature story/personality from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.[24] He served as a Pulitzer juror in 2016.

In 2018, Read received the National Press Club's Consumer Journalism Award for periodicals,[25] awarded to NerdWallet for his investigation of U.S. Agriculture Department failings in policing the $43 billion organic food industry.[26] A Costa Rican legislative committee held hearings on allegations reported by Read against USDA certifiers and a Costa Rican company accused of exporting "organic" pineapples grown with banned chemicals.[27]


Read is a frequent public speaker whose work has been cited in several books. Quoted in "Pulitzer's Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism," by Roy J. Harris.[28] and cited in "Pulitzer's Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism," by Roy J. Harris.[29] Approach as a foreign correspondent described in "Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting," by John Maxwell Hamilton.[30] Role in transformation of foreign reporting described in "News From Abroad," by Donald R. Shanor.[31]

Approach as a narrative writer described in "Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction," by Jack R. Hart.[32] Reporting approach described in "A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Work," by Jack R. Hart.[33] Style as a narrative storyteller described in "The Ethics of the Story: Using Narrative Techniques Responsibly in Journalism," by David Craig.[34] Role in explanatory journalism described by Lewis M. Simons in "Breach of Faith: A Crisis of Coverage in the Age of Corporate Newspapering," edited by Gene Roberts and Thomas Kunkel.[35]

Work for Massachusetts crime commission[36] described in "John William Ward: An American Idealist," by Kim Townsend.[37][38]

Other work[edit]

From 2007-2008, Read was president of the Board of Directors of The International School, a Portland full-immersion language elementary school, where he served as a trustee for six years.[39] He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.[40]


1957 births. Amherst College notable alumni. Nieman fellows. Harvard University people. Lake Oswego, Oregon, notable people. Scottish emigrants to the United States. The Oregonian people.


  1. ^ "LA Times hires Read to be its Seattle reporter".
  2. ^ "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners".
  3. ^ "Welcome to Storyline".
  4. ^ "Arthur Hinton Read, 1922-1961".
  5. ^ "Massachusetts told of wide corruption".
  6. ^ Kim Townsend. John William Ward: An American Idealist. The Trustees of Amherst College. pp. 205-. ISBN 978-0-943184-17-3.
  7. ^ "Richard Read, The Oregonian". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "Eisenhower Fellowships 10/2005". Eisenhower Fellowships.
  9. ^ "Still behind the iron curtain".
  10. ^ "Many of The Oregonian's top staffers have applied for buyouts".
  11. ^ "Departing Oregonian reporter: if you write a story to win an award, you won't get one".
  12. ^ "NerdWallet hires Pulitzer winner Read, among others".
  13. ^ "Don't Trust These Companies With Your Student Debt".
  14. ^ "AP garner 2 Pulitzer Prizes for pictures".
  15. ^ "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners:Explanatory Reporting". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  16. ^ "Foundation Announces National Journalism Awards Winners". Archived from the original on 2013-12-31.
  17. ^ "Times' Reporters land-swap series wins Blethen award".
  18. ^ "Willamette University Holds 145th Commencement". Willamette University. 2003-05-13. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  19. ^ "The 2001 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Public Service". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  20. ^ "The 1999 Pulitzer Prize Winners:Explanatory Reporting". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  21. ^ "2005 Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism" (PDF).
  22. ^ "The Oregonian wins 12 first-place awards in regional competition".
  23. ^
  24. ^ "2012 Better Newspaper Contest :: Winning entry". Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  25. ^ "WSJ, Reuters and NerdWallet among National Press Club award winners".
  26. ^ "The 'Dirt' on Organic Food: You May be Paying for Fakes".
  27. ^ "Costa Rica: Government accused of ignoring organic pineapple issue: Conventional pineapples are being exported as organic products".
  28. ^ Roy J. Harris (1 January 2008). Pulitzer's Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism. University of Missouri Press. pp. 447–. ISBN 978-0-8262-1768-4.
  29. ^ Roy J. Harris. Pulitzer's Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-17028-4.
  30. ^ John Maxwell Hamilton. Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 473-. ISBN 978-0-80713474-0.
  31. ^ Donald R. Shanor. News From Abroad. Columbia University Press. pp. 134-. ISBN 0-231-12240-3.
  32. ^ Jack R. Hart. Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction. University of Chicago Press. pp. 2, 4, 150, 173, 183, 192, 195, 199, 201, 243, 250, 251, 263-. ISBN 978-0-226-31814-1.
  33. ^ Jack R. Hart. A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Work. Anchor. ISBN 1400078695.
  34. ^ David Craig. The Ethics of the Story: Using Narrative Techniques Responsibly in Journalism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. ISBN 978-0742537774.
  35. ^ Gene Roberts and Thomas Kunkel. Breach of Faith: A Crisis of Coverage in the Age of Corporate Newspapering. The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-728-7.
  36. ^ "A usable past: In 1980, the Ward Commission exposed a culture of corruption and brought about far-reaching reforms".
  37. ^ Kim Townsend. John William Ward: An American Idealist. The Trustees of Amherst College. pp. 160, 205-. ISBN 978-0-943184-17-3.
  38. ^ "Unknowable man".
  39. ^ "The International School Fundraising Report, 2007" (PDF). The International School. June 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  40. ^ "Lake Oswego Corporation". Retrieved 2012-12-30.