Reporters and contributors

Lead reporter & host Mary Kay Magistad lived and reported in China for 15 years, and in Southeast Asia for seven years before that. As an award-winning correspondent first for NPR, then for PRI’s The World, she reported in every province in China, most countries in Asia and some in Africa about how China’s rise was affecting individual lives and having global impact. Her podcast “Whose Century Is It?,” a Webby Award honoree, takes a deep dive into ideas, trends and twists shaping power dynamics around the world in this century. Mary Kay has taught international reporting and audio journalism at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and served as a judge for several years for both the Overseas Press Club Awards and the Society of Publishers in Asia awards. Among her own awards are a dupont-Columbia Silver Baton, an Overseas Press Club award, and awards from Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Professional Journalists and the Scripps-Howard Foundation. She has been a Nieman Fellow and Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. She currently lives in San Francisco.

Ep 1 contributing reporter Shuang Li is native of Chengdu, China. After almost a decade as a Reuters video journalist, reporting throughout China, Shuang completed an MA in journalism, with a focus in documentary filmmaking, at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her first documentary film, The Long Wait, highlights the difficulties single and lesbian Chinese women face, due to government restrictions, when they want to have children. Shuang has reported COVID-19 stories for The New York Times. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Ep 2 contributing reporter Dulat Yesnazar is an aspiring Kazakh journalist and photojournalist with independent online magazine Vласть. He is based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and reports on Central Asia. He has covered ethnic clashes in Masanchi, mass protests and the COVID-19 outbreak in Kazakhstan. Dulat holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Public Administration at KIMEP University. His academic interests include development studies and climate change. Dulat completed internships with The UN Agency for Migration and The Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia.

Ep 3 & 5 contributing reporter Laura Daverio is an Italian journalist and radio and video documentary maker based in Mexico City after 20 years in China, focusing on China’s impact on Latin America and the Caribbean, migrants, climate change and COVID-19. Fluent in five languages, including Chinese and Spanish, Laura grew up in Milan, Italy and studied Chinese language and Far Eastern studies in Venice. She has reported widely across Asia and produced television documentaries on underground churches in China, surrogate mothers in India and North Korean refugees hiding in northern China. Among her other notable video documentaries are Dreaming in Tibet about the exiled Tibetan community in India, Life as Mao on Chairman Mao’s myth through the lives of Mao Zeodong impersonators in China, Forgetting Tiananmen on the impact of the Chinese government’s efforts to erase the Tiananmen crackdown from public memory and Survivors of Fukushima on evacuees fleeing the nuclear disaster in Japan. 

Ep 4 contributing reporter Ushar Daniele is a Malaysian producer and journalist specializing in investigative storytelling in Malaysia and more broadly in Southeast Asia. She has been published in Malaysia’s The Malay Mail, Channel NewsAsia, Al Jazeera English, CNN, South China Morning Post and International Business Times Singapore. Ushar’s recent projects include writing and producing long-form documentaries for international broadcasters, and freelance news and current affairs reporting for Al Jazeera English and CNN, including on the trial of former Prime Minister Najib Razak on corruption charges. 

Ep 4 contributing reporter Yon Sineat is a Cambodian journalist, based in Phnom Penh. As a reporter for the Phnom Penh Post, she covered labor, human trafficking, slavery and women’s issues. She currently works as a freelance journalist, writer, fixer and translator. Her stories have appeared in The South China Morning Post, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and beyond. Before working as a journalist, she worked for a labor rights non-government organization for five years, then as a translator/fixer for students researching labor movements in Cambodia. Sineat hails from Kampong Cham province.

Ep 4 contributing reporter Andrew Nachemson lived and reported in Cambodia for several years, as a reporter for The Phnom Penh Post, and for international media including Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, The LA Times, Vice and others. Among his areas of focus there was the impact and nature of Chinese investment, especially along Cambodia’s coastline. He is now based in Myanmar’s capital Yangon, covering politics, human rights, and the impact of Chinese investment and other actions in Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. His article on the lingering effects of Agent Orange in Cambodia won the 2018 Society of Publishers in Asia award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting.

Ep 5 contributing reporter Luis Burón is an award-winning journalist in Panama with the newspaper La Prensa, covering politics, investigative stories and sports. He shared a Pulitzer Prize on explanatory reporting in 2017, for explanatory reporting on the Panama Papers investigation. He has also won seven national awards, is a two-time Latin America Investigative Journalism finalist, and a Gabriel García Márquez New Journalism Foundation fellow. Luis cofounded Concolón, a journalistic cluster focused on improving journalism in Panama. He is one of the authors of Protagonists of the Panamanian 20th Century, a book published by Random House.

Ep 5 contributing reporter Isabella Cota is the Mexico City-based Economics Correspondent for Latin America for El Pais, the world’s leading international Spanish-language print outlet. She has been a correspondent for Reuters and for Bloomberg, reporting in her native Mexico as well as in the UK and Costa Rica, and has done investigative reporting for BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Quinto Elemento Lab, and OpenDemocracy. Isabella’s reporting has covered a wide range of issues, from Donald Trump’s failed business deals in Mexico to hidden government contracts and the illegal international market for electronic waste. In 2019, she traced financing from ultraconservative groups in the United States to fake abortion clinics in Mexico City. She attended the clinics undercover and exposed misinformation and manipulation of women. 

Ep 6 contributing reporter Inge Rasmussen is a Danish journalist based in Nuuk, Greenland, for 20 years. She is currently a reporter at Atuagagdliutit/Grønlandsposten, a Greenlandic weekly newspaper. She was previously a reporter and radio news anchor at KNR, Greenland’s Broadcasting Corporation.

Ep 7 contributing reporter Melissa Chan, a former Beijing-based correspondent for Al Jazeera English, has also reported from Cuba to Canada, Mongolia to Moscow, and in North and South Korea. She focuses on transnational issues, including on the global reach of China’s Digital Silk Road, and other aspects of China’s global impact. She has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, The Guardian, and Foreign Policy. As a collaborator with The Global Reporting Centre, she investigates the complexities of global trade and its costs on ordinary people. Her work in China won two Human Rights Press Awards and a citation from the Overseas Press Club. Foreign Policy’s Pacific Power Index included her on a list of 25 people shaping the future of US-China relations.

Ep 9 contributing reporter Tesfalem Waldyes, a native of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, is co-founder and editor of Ethiopia Insider, a news and current affairs website. He was also one of the co-founders of the now defunct weekly independent newspaper Addis Neger. Tes has worked for Ethiopia’s largest English-language newspaper, Addis Fortune, and for the Sub-Saharan Informer. He helped launch an Amharic language newspaper, Habeshawi Kana, the first of its kind for Ethiopian and Eritrean communities distributed throughout East Africa. He lived and worked in Germany as a radio journalist for Deutsche Welle (DW), and has worked in Ethiopia with prominent international news organizations, journalists and researchers, including the BBC, CBC, Associated Press (AP), ZDF (German public television), and IRIN, the United National news service. Tes was unlawfully arrested in April 2014 along with six bloggers and two other journalists, and charged under Ethiopia’s infamous anti-terrorism law. He spent 439 days in jail. Tes and four of his co-defendants were unexpectedly released in July 2015, after the prosecutor officially dropped the charges before President Obama’s visit. The rest were acquitted in court.

Story consultant Philippe Le Billon, a Professor of Political Geography at the University of British Columbia, first travelled in China in 1991 and subsequently worked in environmental and humanitarian programs, mostly in Southeast Asia. His academic work on the region has engaged with issues as diverse as the political economy of war in Cambodia and post-disaster reconstruction in Aceh. Several of his works cover China-related issues, including on food security, extractive resources, and Sino-African relations. His most recent work examined the geopolitics of the Belt and Road Initiative in Nepal following the 2015 Earthquake.