“Bearing witness to lives that are often absent from public view, Valeria Fernández’s work stands as testament to the trust people have in her to tell their stories with accuracy and compassion. Her journalism benefits from the kind of access that comes from years of relentless beat reporting. She brings great depth to stories of people who are often the most difficult for journalists to access, including families broken apart by the immigration system, and a new immigrant’s struggles with mental health.”

2018 Judging Panel

Valeria Fernández has been reporting on Arizona’s immigrant community and the many angles and faces of the immigration debate for over 15 years. She is a 2017 Fellow for the Adelante initiative of the International Media Women Foundation, covering issues at the intersection of trauma, deportation, and migration.

Ms. Fernández currently freelances in multiple mediums, including the Phoenix New Times, The Guardian, PRI’s Global Nation and PRI’s The World, CNN Español, Radio Bilingüe, and Al Jazeera English. Born in Uruguay, she began her career as a journalist in the Gannett-owned newspaper La Voz.

Her recent work included a story for the Phoenix New Times in which she detailed the mental health struggles of a new immigrant in Arizona.

Although Ms. Fernández’s work nominated for this prize is from print, she is the co-director and producer of “Two Americans,” a documentary that parallels the stories of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies during a workplace immigration raid. She has also co-directed six short award-winning documentaries along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as part of the international web-documentary Connected Walls in 2014-2015.

In 2015, she was a producer and reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting on a digital multimedia project that cast light on the economic and social impacts of a mine spill in Northern Mexico that broadcast in PBS, San Diego. The multimedia project won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting.

In 2004, the National Association of Hispanic Publications named Fernández “Latina Journalist of the Year.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

Visit Valeria’s website here.