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Richard Read

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Richard Read


Amherst College

Richard Read Richard Read NerdWallet Journalist Muck Rack

Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting


Mark Richard Reads from "House of Prayer No. 2"

Richard Read (born 1957) is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist who is an investigative reporter at NerdWallet. He was a senior writer and foreign correspondent for The Oregonian, working for the Portland, Oregon newspaper from 1981 to 1986 and 1989 through 2015.


Read has reported in more than 60 countries, 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 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 that ended with riots presaging the Fall of Suharto.

Early life

Read was born in St Andrews, Scotland, to Katharine Read and Arthur Hinton Read, 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, a Massachusetts crime commission that exposed widespread corruption and proposed reforms including campaign-finance legislation whose design he oversaw. He moved to Portland in 1981 to become a reporter for The Oregonian.

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.

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. He reported in North Korea in 1989 and 2007. In fall 2013, Read and photographer Jamie Francis reported in Jordan and Lebanon on the plight of Syrian refugees.

In January 2016, Read left The Oregonian after taking a buyout, leaving words of advice to colleagues.

Read began in October 2016 as a reporter on a public-interest investigative team at NerdWallet, a San Francisco company with a personal-finance website that gives consumers tools, research and expert advice to help them make financial decisions.


Read won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting in 1999 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. 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.

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.

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. 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. 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.

In 2011, he won first place for Best of the West business and financial reporting. In 2012, he won first place for best feature story/personality from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.


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. and cited in "Pulitzer's Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism," by Roy J. Harris. Approach as a foreign correspondent described in "Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting," by John Maxwell Hamilton. Role in transformation of foreign reporting described in "News From Abroad," by Donald R. Shanor.

Approach as a narrative writer described in "Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction," by Jack R. Hart. Reporting approach described in "A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Work," by Jack R. Hart. Style as a narrative storyteller described in "The Ethics of the Story: Using Narrative Techniques Responsibly in Journalism," by David Craig. 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.

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

Other work

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. He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.


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.


Richard Read Wikipedia