Member Since: 2015
Public Policy Fellow
Woodrow Wilson Center
Jean H. Lee is a veteran foreign correspondent and expert on North Korea. Lee led the Associated Press news agency’s coverage of the Korean Peninsula as bureau chief from 2008 to 2013. In 2011, she became the first American reporter granted extensive access on the ground in North Korea, and in January 2012 opened AP’s Pyongyang bureau, the only Western text/photo news bureau based in the North Korean capital. She has made dozens of extended reporting trips to North Korea, visiting farms, factories, schools, military academies and homes in the course of her exclusive reporting across the country.
During Lee’s tenure, AP’s coverage of Kim Jong Il’s 2011 death earned an honorable mention in the deadline reporting category of the 2012 Associated Press Media Editors awards for journalism in the United States and Canada. Lee also won an Online Journalism Award in 2013 for her role in using photography, video and social media in North Korea, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in feature reporting in 2013.
Lee is a native of Minneapolis. She has a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and English from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She worked as a reporter for the Korea Herald in Seoul, South Korea, before being posted with AP to the news agency’s bureaus in Baltimore; Fresno, Calif.; San Francisco; New York; London; Seoul and Pyongyang.
Lee was a fellow with the Alicia Patterson Foundation in 2014, and serves frequently as a guest speaker and commentator on North Korea-related topics.