Jurek Martin has been a Washington-based columnist for the Financial Times and FT.com for the last six years, following a career of more than 30 years as a reporter and editor on that newspaper. This took him to distant places, including two tours as Washington bureau chief and one in New York, as well as four years running the Tokyo office covering the Far East. In London headquarters, he also served as foreign news editor from 1972 to 1975 and as foreign editor in charge of all foreign coverage from 1986 to 1992. He won two British Press awards for his coverage of Japan and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen in 1997 for his foreign reporting.
His philosophy in life is, generally, that happiness is directly related to the distance from head office. Born in Worcester, England, and with a degree in modern history from Oxford University, he practiced his wanderlust immediately on graduation by taking off to California where he was, variously, a school teacher, encyclopedia salesman, bartender, and ski bum for three years. He joined the newspaper immediately on returning to the UK and two years later was posted to Washington for his first foreign assignment, arriving on the day of Richard Nixon's first inauguration.
Martin is addicted to any sport with a ball, playing mostly golf and tennis, but watching baseball avidly. Other distinctions include being the first Westerner to have danced in public with the current Empress of Japan and to have discovered a lost Raphael. He lives in Washington with his wife, Kathleen Newland, cofounder of the Migration Policy Institute and herself an occasional CWA participant. They have a daughter, Caroline, formerly of Colorado but now enjoying the good life in Paris with her husband.