Peter Laufer

Peter Laufer profile picture
  • Title: Professor, James N. Wallace Chair of Journalism
  • Phone: 541-346-2109
  • Office: 203 Allen Hall
  • City: Eugene
  • Affiliated Departments: European Studies
  • Curriculum Vitae


Peter Laufer is the James Wallace Chair Professor in Journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication. He is also an award-winning author, broadcaster, documentarian, and journalist. He has studied and taught throughout the world—in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia—and has sent home reports on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the wars in Central America for NBC Radio, reported for CBS Radio as the Berlin Wall fell, and chased butterflies in Nicaragua for his book The Dangerous World of Butterflies.

An international news correspondent and award-winning author, he has written over 18 books including the 2014 Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling. He reported, wrote, and produced several documentaries as an NBC News correspondent on topics ranging from the crises facing Vietnam War veterans to illiteracy and hunger in America, and he wrote a study of Americans incarcerated overseas that won the George Polk Award. He frequently combines his scholarly and professional work, and he served as editor of the anthology Interviewing: The Oregon Method. Laufer has served as news and program director of WRC Radio in Washington, D.C., was founding program director of Newstalk 93.6 in Berlin, and has acted as management consultant to several international news broadcasting projects, including National GeographicWashington Monthly, and Mother Jones radio programs. He has also managed a variety of book publishing and documentary film projects along with journalism education initiatives in the Middle East for UNESCO and USAID.

Laufer’s writing now focuses on borders, migration, identity, and animal rights. For more information, visit his website.


  • PhD, Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • MA, Communications: Journalism and Public Affairs, American University School of Communication, Washington, D.C.


Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling, Globe Pequot Press, 2014


Laufer’s research probes the intersection of borders, migration, and identity. He also studies the relationships of humans to other animals. His investigative work includes a study of the veracity of the label “organic” on food products.

Honors and Awards

  • Jonathan Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching in Journalism and Communication by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, 2012
  • California Council for the Humanities “California Voices” radio production grant for “The Calexico Project,” 2008
  • Koerber Foundation (Hamburg) Transatlantic Idea prize in the foundation’s “Transitions in Life” competition for the book Mission Rejected, 2006
  • Gustavas Myers Book Awards honorable mention from the Gustavas Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights at Simmons College, Boston, for the book Wetback Nation, 2005
  • RIAS Berlin Commission/ Radio Television News Directors Foundation German/American Production Grant for the TV documentary: “Exodus to Berlin,” 2000, winner of the David Wolper Best Documentary Prize from the Wine Country Film Festival in California, 2001
  • National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Award for the book Made in Mexico, also cited on the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2001 list, compiled by a joint committee of the Children’s Book Council and the National Council for the Social Studies, 2001

Areas of Expertise

  • Information gathering and reporting
  • Narrative journalism
  • Interviewing
  • Conflict sensitive reporting
  • Talk radio analysis
  • Borders, migration, and identity


  • Journalistic Interview
  • Cross-Cultural Interviewing and Reporting
  • Story Development
  • Conflict Sensitive Reporting