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Sydney Hillel Schanberg (born January 17, 1934 in Clinton, Massachusettsmarker) is an Americanmarker journalist who is best known for his coverage of the war in Cambodiamarker.

Schanberg joined The New York Times as a journalist in 1959. He spent much of the early 1970s as a Vietnam War correspondent for the Times. For his reporting, he won the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism twice, in 1971 and 1974.

Following years of U.S. carpet bombing campaigns over Cambodia and Laos, Schanberg wrote positively in The New York Times about the departure of the Americans and the coming regime change, writing about the Cambodians that "it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." The Khmer Rouge took over Cambodiamarker in 1975 and killed approximately two million people. A dispatch he wrote on April 13, 1975, written from Phnom Penhmarker, ran with the headline "Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life." However, in the same piece, Schanberg also wrote, "This is not to say that the Communist-backed governments which will replace the American clients can be expected to be benevolent. Already, in Cambodia, there is evidence in the areas led by the Communist-led Cambodian insurgents that life is hard and inflexible, everything that Cambodians are not." However, in the same article, Schanberg then went on to reject claims that the communist takeover of Cambodia could lead to state-sponsored genocide: "Wars nourish brutality and sadism, and sometimes certain people are executed by the victors but it would be tendentious to forecast such abnormal behavior as a national policy under a Communist government once the war is over."

He won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his Cambodia coverage.

His 1980 book The Death and Life of Dith Pran was about the struggle for survival of his assistant Dith Pran in the Khmer Rouge regime. The book inspired the 1984 film The Killing Fields, in which Schanberg was played by Sam Waterston.

Between 1986 and 1995, he was an associate editor and columnist for New York Newsday. Schanberg covered the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs hearings and became engrossed in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue; writing for Penthouse and later The Village Voice and The Nation, Schanberg became a leading advocate of the "live prisoners" belief in that matter.

In 1992, Schanberg received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby Collegemarker.

In 2006, Schanberg resigned as the Press Clips columnist for The Village Voice in protest over the editorial, political and personnel changes made by the new publisher, New Times Media.



  1. "American leftists were Pol Pot's cheerleaders", Jeff Jacoby, April 30, 1998

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