Join School of Journalism director Geneva Overholser for a discussion with Rob Schmitz, Marketplace’s China correspondent based in Shanghai. Schmitz’s reporting exposed major fabrications in one of NPR’s most popular episodes of This American Life, recounting working conditions in China for factory workers making Apple products.
This American Life (TAL) had originally run a story based on monologist Mike Daisey’s factory visit recounting how he encountered underage workers, poisoned workers, maimed workers, and dismal factory conditions for those making Apple iPhones and iPads. The story was one of the most downloaded pieces in TAL’s history, but Schmitz’s reporting revealed numerous fabrications, forcing a retraction while sparking off a chain of events which are still unfolding. The resultant storm of publicity has forced Apple’s subcontractor in China, Foxconn, to reveal its list of suppliers and raise wages—all of which will continue like a chain reaction leading to the eventual increase in price of the iPhones that end up in the hands of American consumers.
Prior to joining Marketplace, Schmitz was the Los Angeles bureau chief for KQED’s The California Report. He’s also worked as the Orange County reporter for KPCC, and as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, covering rural Minnesota.