Tracy Dahlby


Tracy Dahlby

Tracy Dahlby joined the faculty as professor and holder of the Frank A. Bennack, Jr. Chair in Journalism in the fall of 2006 after three decades mainly spent as a journalist specializing in international reporting. His interests at the University of Texas at Austin include examining the changing roles of both foreign reporting and journalistic storytelling in a time of digital revolution, and in helping students to cope with and benefit from such changes.

To provide students a window on the practical demands of a changing profession, Dahlby founded Reporting Texas in 2009. The School of Journalism’s news website, Reporting Texas serves as a platform for editing and publishing the best of the School's work. It also forms the basis for content-sharing partnerships with professional news outlets in Central Texas. In 2011, Dahlby introduced Reporting Texas into the School’s curriculum where he teaches the capstone-style course.

Dahlby has created three additional course offerings in the regular curriculum: “Explanatory Journalism: Storytelling in a Digital Age,” “Reporting the World: A Critical Examination of the U.S. News Media,” and “Reporting Asia: A Foreign Correspondent's Framework.” A fourth entry, “Reporting China: A Foreign Correspondent's Workshop” is a month-long apprentice-style field course offered through the Study Abroad program and is designed to acquaint students with the day-to-day realities of international reporting in a big, complex and fast-evolving beat – the People's Republic of China.

 In 2012, the University of Texas System recognized Dahlby with its Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Dahlby spent 13 years living in Asia, where he served as Tokyo bureau chief for The Washington Post and Newsweek, respectively, and over his career has covered events in Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. In 1987, he became managing editor of Newsweek International in New York, where he helped direct and coordinate worldwide news coverage. As a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine between 1993 and 2002, Dahlby specialized in writing about Asia. His book about Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia, “Allah’s Torch: A Report from Behind the Scenes in Asia's War on Terror,” was published in January 2005 by William Morrow.

Dahlby has also worked in documentary films for television. He was Series Director and co-creator for “The Fifties,” an eight-hour miniseries based on author David Halberstam's best-selling history of America's signature decade that debuted on The History Channel in 1997. Dahlby won a national Sports Emmy Award for his role in producing “SportsCentury,” a series first aired on ESPN in 1999 that examines the lives of the great athletes of the 20th century. He served as Special Correspondent for “The Pacific Century,” an Emmy Award-winning series that debuted on PBS in 1992.

Dahlby won an Overseas Press Club Award for Newsweek's coverage of South Korea's rise as a trading power in the 1980s. As a member of a Newsweek reporting team, he helped produce “The End of the World That Was: Six Lives in the Atomic Age,” a book about the atomic-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He is co-author with B.H. Kean, M.D., of “MD: One Doctor's Adventures Among the Famous and Infamous From the Jungles of Panama to a Park Avenue Practice.”

Dahlby is currently writing a book for the University of Texas Press about his experiences as a foreign correspondent under the working title “Into the Field.”

Dahlby graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1972. He received a Master of Arts in Regional Studies - East Asia from Harvard University in 1976. He studied intensive Japanese at the Inter-University Center in Tokyo, a language program administered by Stanford University, in 1973-1974, and became a research fellow at the University of Tokyo's faculty of law the following year. He started his journalistic career as a reporter for the AP-Dow Jones Economic Report in Tokyo before taking a job as Tokyo correspondent for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review in 1976.

Dahlby was a visiting professor of journalism at Eugene Lang College, the New School for Liberal Arts, in New York City during the 2005-2006 academic year. He served as director of the School of Journalism at UT Austin from 2008 to 2010.


Contact Information:


Recent Courses:
J359T/J395 Reporting Texas

J349T/J395 Reporting the World:
A Critical Examination of the U.S. News Media

J349T/J395 Reporting China:
A Foreign Correspondent's Workshop

J359T/J395 Storytelling in a Digital Age