Mark Litke, an award-winning television correspondent who for three decades reported from around the world for ABC News, has established an endowed fellowship in international reporting at Berkeley Journalism.
Litke, who studied at Berkeley Journalism in the early 1970s said, “I owe much of my early success to a remarkable group of professionals-turned-professors — Edwin Bayley, Andrew Stern, Bernard Taper and David Littlejohn. My career simply would not have happened without their guidance, motivation and inspiration. Though retired for the past 10 years, I am fortunate to be in a position today to give something back and pay something forward.”
Litke said he is also motivated by a mixture of concern and hope over the future of international reporting in broadcast and visual journalism.
“Foreign news coverage by American broadcast news organizations has declined dramatically in recent years,” Litke said. He suggested American broadcast news agencies might not be able to commit the enormous investment of resources and personnel to thoroughly cover tensions between Russia and Ukraine, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and developments in China that could erupt into a global crisis.
“It takes time, commitment, and immersion to hone skills and build local knowledge to produce meaningful international news reporting,” Litke said. “I share the hope and applaud the determination of Dean Geeta Anand, who has vowed to take the limits off who can afford to become a journalist in this country. I am honored to be able to contribute to the dean’s ambitious and impressive efforts to ensure that students at the J-School are deeply engaged in the work of journalism, rather than burdened by financial roadblocks to their success.”
Whether the annual fellowship is used to fund a documentary project, purchase or rent video production equipment, pay for international airfare and accommodations, or introduce foreign students to the extraordinary opportunities at Berkeley, Litke said he hopes it will make it easier for students to pursue international journalism careers.
“It’s such a thrill to receive a gift like this for our students,” Anand said. “That Mark would pay it forward to the next generation of students at UC Berkeley is a legacy-making proclamation. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
As chief Asia correspondent for ABC News, Litke provided extensive coverage of historic events that have shaped modern China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Iraq and South Africa.
As a correspondent in China, Litke covered the rise of China’s global influence from the days of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement through the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. In Korea, Litke was on the front lines, covering the rise and fall of tensions on the Korean peninsula. In India, he was among the first to report the long simmering Sikh rebellion and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He was also among the first reporters to reach the scenes of some of such catastrophic events as India’s Bhopal gas tragedy, Japan’s Kobe earthquake, and Southeast Asia’s 2004 Tsunami.
In 2004, Litke won his fifth national Emmy Award for his investigative report on the violent “Tiger Force” campaign by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. He also earned Emmys for his coverage of Thailand’s drug wars, the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Pakistan, the fall of Indonesia’s President Suharto and the ABC News millennium special, during which Litke reported live from Shanghai, China.
After retiring from ABC News, Litke produced a series of reports from Southeast Asia for the PBS program “World Focus” on topics that included the lingering impact of the defoliant Agent Orange on people in Vietnam, the struggle for a reproductive rights law in the Philippines, and Thailand’s decadeslong Muslim insurgency. For the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, Litke wrote and produced a one-hour special for Bloomberg TV — “Tragedy & Triumph: Wall Street after 9/11.”
Litke also received two Peabody Awards, three Overseas Press Club Awards, a National Headliner Award, and the South Asian Journalism Award.
June 15, 2023
Geeta Anand. Photo by Christopher Michel. Dear Berkeley Journalism Community, We live in a moment like no other. The threats to democratic culture posed by weaponized disinformation, partisan disharmony, and…