Position: Business Writer
Location: Mumbai, India
Started at AP: 2008
Originally from: Los Angeles
Erika Kinetz walked into the AP’s Bangkok office on the advice of a friend, and a month later was offered a position as the Business Writer in Mumbai. Prior to joining the AP, she had been writing for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. In 2006 she moved to Cambodia, where she became a special correspondent for Newsweek, winning a human rights journalism award for a team report on modern day slavery. She also worked at the Cambodia Daily, a small English and Khmer language paper, and contributed to The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and Deutsche Welle Radio, among others.
Kinetz writes about business across India as well as general news in Mumbai. She covers breaking spot news and some fixed economic coverage, such as GDP, central bank moves and earnings reports of important Indian companies. However, she spends the bulk of her time on enterprise and investigative stories. She helps out with coverage of Myanmar and has travelled to Sri Lanka after the war and around India to cover stories.
What's your favorite part of your job?
I love that the AP has an expansive view of what a business story should be. Some of my favorite stories have been about the night rat catchers of Mumbai, and an ongoing investigation of abuses by Indian microfinance companies.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
"Killed by Debt," an article that ran in February of 2012. I was able to document how India's top microfinance company, SKS Microfinance, covered up its involvement in the suicides of poor borrowers. The company publicly denied wrongdoing, despite the findings of a secret report they themselves commissioned.
After the article came out, the government of Andhra Pradesh—the state where the suicides took place—sent local officials out to villages to speak with families of the dead and give them a chance to reinvigorate stalled legal cases against dozens of microfinance company employees accused of abetment to suicide. It was rare to have access to the level of documentation I was able to gather, rare to run a story at over 3,000 words and rare to have people—in this case the state government—take action as a result of something they read.
Why is the AP a good place to work?
The AP has its priorities right. It supports good journalism and good writing, two things that are in increasingly short supply amid shrinking budgets. As a mother, I must also say that AP has been very supportive of my family.
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