Ron Yates

Ron Yates


Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is Dean Emeritus of the College of Media at the University of Illinois. Yates, who is also a professor of journalism, was appointed Dean in August 2003 after heading the College of Media’s Department of Journalism. He joined the University of Illinois as Journalism Department Head in 1997 following a 25-year career with the Chicago Tribune as an award-winning foreign correspondent, senior writer and editor. He stepped down as Dean in September 2010 to concentrate on writing and film projects.

Journalism Career

While at the Chicago Tribune, Yates accumulated extensive international experience. He lived and worked 18 years as a foreign correspondent in Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America where he covered several wars and revolutions from the 1970s into the 1990s, including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia in 1975, the Tiananmen Square tragedy in Beijing in 1989, and political upheavals in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and The Philippines. He also covered wars and revolutions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Colombia.

In addition to reporting on the political and social changes in these countries Prof. Yates spent many years documenting the shifting global economic conditions that are reshaping traditional business affiliations between the United States and its foreign trading partners.

His work as a foreign correspondent resulted in four Pulitzer Prize nominations and several other awards. In 1990 he received a commendation from the Gerald Loeb Foundation for an in-depth series of stories entitled: "Vanishing Borders: Trade in the 1990s" and he has also won the Inter-American Press Association's Tom Wallace Award for coverage of Central and South America. His work as a foreign correspondent was rewarded by the Tribune with three Edward Scott Beck Awards and in 1993 Yates won the Peter Lisagor Award from the Professional Society of Journalists for excellence in business writing. Before joining the Tribune in 1970 Yates served with U.S. Military Intelligence in Germany as an intelligence analyst.


Prof. Yates is a frequent speaker at seminars and symposiums dealing with such diverse topics as war correspondence, international affairs, relations between Asia and the United States and the critical topic of how American companies are competing globally. He has spoken at seminars sponsored by Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the U.S. Automotive Export Council, the International Trade Association, the World Trade Center, the Council on Competitiveness, the Competitiveness Policy Council and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, to name a few.

He is author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. He is also the author of Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent's Journey Through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese. Prof. Yates also wrote and published two text books for use in journalism classes: The Journalist's Handbook and International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents.

Prof. Yates is currently working on two new books: One is a book based on his experiences as a foreign correspondent in Asia from the early 1970s to the early 1990s. Its working title is The Last Rickshaw Home: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Asia. The other is a novel that will be finished in 2012.

Professional History

In addition to his work as a foreign and national correspondent, Prof. Yates spent 1982 to 1985 in the world of senior management as the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan editor and national editor—positions in which he supervised a staff of some 240 reporters and editors. Prof. Yates also has taught journalism, writing and international studies at California State University, Fullerton, Cal., Orange County California Community College and the Oakton Community College system in Chicago.

While in Japan Prof. Yates wrote the popular TOKYO EXPRESS column for Japan's Mainichi Daily News and was a columnist for the Japanese edition of Playboy Magazine. He is senior editorial adviser to the China Financial Weekly, published by the Financial Relations Board and writes frequently for several Asia-based publications.

Prof. Yates is a native of Kansas City, Mo. He is an honors graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. He lives in Murrieta, CA., and speaks several foreign languages, including German, Spanish and Japanese.

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