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Biography

(here’s more a formal CV.)

Summary

Jeremy Wagstaff is a writer, commentator, broadcaster and consultant on media and technology issues. His academic background and 20 years of experience as a reporter in Asia give him a unique perspective on issues of media, technology, development, innovation and the environment.

Highlights

afghanid.jpgAs a correspondent for Reuters and later for The Wall Street Journal Jeremy has been witness to some of the key moments of recent Asian history, including the Burmese uprising of 1988, the Thai people’s revolution of 1992, the fall of Kabul to the Taleban in 1996, the return of Hong Kong to China and the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the fall of Suharto in 1998. (Read some of his stories here.)

He’s also become a key commentator and guru on technology, predicting the growing economic, social and news importance of the Internet in the early 1990s, the rise of blogging in the early 2000s, the importance of collaborative websites of Wikipedia in 2003 and the danger of phishing scams the same year. (Read some of his columns here.)

Some key points:

  • His stories have appeared in countless newspapers, been read into the U.S. Congressional record and won four internal awards.
  • His voice has been carried on the BBC, CNN, Fox News, VOA and CNBC.
  • He has been based in London, Bangkok, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Kabul, Hong Kong, Singapore and Jakarta.
  • He has worked in 14 Asian countries.

Technology and journalism

afghan-pansher1b.jpgHis travels have brought him into close proximity with technology, just as it was beginning to change the way journalists, and everyone else, work. The advent of laptops, the modem and the cellphone changed everything, and Wagstaff was one of the few correspondents willing to embrace the new tools. He and his Reuters colleagues, for example, would not have been able to file stories and pictures on the Taleban takeover of Kabul in 1996 if they couldn’t cajole the bureau’s generator, satellite dish and modem into action each morning.

Jeremy Wagstaff was born in England in 1962, was educated at the universities of Exeter and London, and began his journalistic career at the BBC’s World Service. He joined Reuters in 1988 as their Indochina correspondent, winning awards for his stories on Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. He moved to Hong Kong in 1991. He was based in Indonesia in 1993-96, covering the heyday of Suharto’s New Order, was in Afghanistan in 1996 with the Taleban and saw the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997.

The same year he joined The Asian Wall Street Journal as Page One Editor before returning to Indonesia in 1998 as the paper’s reporter. From there he covered the aftermath of Suharto’s overthrow, the chaotic democracy of the Habibie and Wahid presidencies, the fallout of the financial crisis and the return of East Timor to independence in 1999.

He started to write a technology column in 2000 after hearing the newspaper was considering ditching the slot when its in-house columnist switched to writing about wine. He has continued to write a column every week on top of other jobs, including reporting on Indonesia and writing a book about former president Suharto. His column appeals to a broad audience partly for this reason: He writes from the point of view of a real person, trying to get technology to help him through his day, rather than technology being an end in itself.

Wagstaff continues to write his technology column and features on the impact of technology. In 2006 he published a collection of his writings entitled Loose Wire. He’s currently based in Singapore, mixing writing with speaking, consulting and other work.

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