Paul Salopek of the Chicago Tribune

Paul Salopek accepting his prize
Columbia University President George Rupp (left) presents Paul Salopek with a 2001Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.

salopek head shot
Paul Salopek

Paul Salopek is the Chicago Tribune's Africa correspondent, based in Johannesburg.

Prior to his assignment covering sub-Saharan Africa, Salopek was a general assignment reporter on the Tribune's Metropolitan staff, reporting on immigration, the environment and urban affairs.

In 1998, Salopek won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for a series on the controversial Human Genome Diversity Project.

Prior to joining the Tribune, he worked as a writer for the National Geographic for three years, and wrote the October 1995 cover story on Africa's mountain gorillas. Before that, he reported on U.S.-Mexico border issues for the El Paso (Texas) Times. In 1990 he was Gannett News Service bureau chief in Mexico City.

Salopek began his journalism career in 1985 when his motorcycle broke down in Roswell, N.M., and he took a police-reporting job at the local newspaper to earn repair money. Since then has had covered conflicts in Central America., New Guinea and the Balkans.

Salopek won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1998. The Pulitzer was for Salopek's two articles on the controversial Human Genome Diversity Project, a project based upon the theory of building an ark of human DNA.

Outside of journalism, Salopek has worked off and on as a commercial fisherman, most recently with the scallop fleet out of New Bedford, Mass., in 1991.

Salopek received an undergraduate degree in environmental biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1984.

He was born Feb. 9, 1962, in Barstow, Calif. He was raised in central Mexico.