About Ben Stocking

An East Coast native, I have moved around the country and the world while clawing my way up the journalism ladder, starting at a tiny community weekly near Boston and eventually becoming a foreign correspondent in Southeast Asia. After stops in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Spain, Minnesota, North Carolina, California and Vietnam, I have finally landed in Seattle, where my wife and her colleagues are engaged in an all-out battle to eliminate malaria from the face of the earth.

An award-winning journalist, I got into newspapers as a college student because I found them much more interesting and entertaining than my school work. Somehow, what began as an effort to avoid my studies evolved into a full-time career. I was lucky to land writing and editing jobs at high-quality regional newspapers that placed a premium on thorough reporting and compelling storytelling. I specialize in analytical pieces about complex social issues. I try my best to infuse them with the voices of ordinary people and to give them a narrative feel. I have written extensively about foreign affairs, race relations, immigration, human rights, politics, and education.

I lived in Vietnam for eight years, serving as the Southeast Asia bureau chief for the San Jose Mercury News, then becoming the Vietnam bureau chief for the Associated Press.

In those roles, I covered everything from the Asian tsunami to a coup in Thailand to terrorist attacks in Jakarta. I wrote extensively about economic and social change in Vietnam, which rapidly transformed from a post-war backwater into one of the region’s most vibrant economies. Much of my coverage focused on human rights and religious freedom in a country whose communist government exercises total political control. I managed to get arrested and beaten by Vietnam’s secret police while covering an anti-government demonstration held by Catholic priests and nuns. (You can see the video here.)

During my time in Vietnam, I honed my photography skills, inspired by Hanoi’s incredible street life and the country’s amazing landscapes. My photos have been published by various news outlets as well as non-profit organizations doing health and development work overseas.

In addition to my freelance journalism efforts, I work as a communications consultant, primarily for non-profit organizations working to rid the world of poverty, corruption, greed and pestilence. I also provide writing and editing services to commercial enterprises whose work doesn’t carry a grotesque moral taint.

I am working slowly — very slowly — on the next Great American Novel, which is set in Vietnam.