Richard Burger has more than 23 years of combined journalism and corporate communications experience and holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from New York University. Along with working as an editor for the Chinese newspaper The Global Times in Beijing, he was a copywriter for Prentice-Hall books, a correspondent for the Fairchild News Syndicate in D.C. and The Enterprise newspaper in Maryland, and was a contributor to the Baltimore Sun. Back in the days before Google, when newspaper articles had to be indexed by a real person, Richard was an Indexer for the New York Times. He worked as a communications specialist for more than eight years in Greater China, with nearly four years spent in Beijing, and played a key role promoting the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Before moving to Asia he worked as a PR executive in Silicon Valley at the height of the technology boom.
His blog, The Peking Duck, was started in 2002 and was one of the very first blogs in China. For ten years Richard has blogged about social, political and cultural issues in China and has a wide audience of readers around the world.
A little more about Richard
Writing and classical music have been my greatest joys since as early as I can remember. I was writing stories by the time I was six, and always had a passion for putting feelings into words. I studied classical music in college, but when I decided the chances of getting a good job in the music business were slim I focused on journalism, getting my Master’s degree from NYU. After that I worked for a number of publications, trying to incorporate my love of music into my work as much as I could. (My NYU graduate thesis was a magazine-style article about a series of interviews I held with conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.) I was a political reporter down in Southern Maryland and later a business reporter in DC.
A big shift in my career came in 1990 when a friend asked me to join his software company as marketing director. I took a gamble, moved from D.C. to Phoenix, and found that with my journalism experience I had an innate skill for public relations. It involved a lot of writing and creativity and working with reporters, and it actually paid something. I was in corporate communications for the next 18 years, until I joined the Chinese newspaper the Global Times in 2009. Prior to that I had been in Asia for about eight years working on communications with multinational companies, and worked on promoting the Olympics in Beijing.
I started my blog when I lived in Hong Kong in 2002. I had no idea what I was doing, just using it to jot down stories and impressions, but then I moved to China and began writing about social and political issues. I was among the very first to blog about China and to my dismay I actually began to have a readership. My blog, The Peking Duck, has been going strong ever since, and still boasts a vibrant community of commenters of all sorts. It focuses primarily on China but I can’t resist writing about US politics every now and then.
Since I left China toward the end of 2009 I’ve been doing freelance PR, and in 2010 I stayed in Shanghai for a month helping a US company publicize its work for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, one of the most rewarding jobs of my career. When Earnshaw Books approached me in 2011 about writing a book about sex in China, I leapt at the opportunity. China is a hot topic and sex may be even more so. Here was my chance to combine my love for China with my passion for writing, and meet my long-held goal of becoming a published author. The result is my first book, Behind the Red Door: Sex in China. Now that the book has been released, I’m starting to think about the next one, which will inevitably also be about China.