S. Lynne Walker is a Pulitzer Prize finalist whose reporting has taken her to Mexico, where she lived for almost 16 years and reported on political, economic, legal and social issues affecting U.S.-Mexico relations.
Walker began her journalism career at the age of 18 when she got her first newspaper job at The Honolulu Advertiser. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, she worked at newspapers in Tampa, Sacramento and San Diego. It was at The San Diego Union-Tribune, while covering California’s agricultural industry for the business section, that Walker became interested in Mexico coverage. She received her first national journalism award — the 1989 Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management — for her four-part series, “The Invisible Work Force.”
Walker did a three-month stint in Saudi Arabia in 1990-91 during Operation Desert Storm as a correspondent imbedded with an Army tank division. A year later, she was hired by Copley News Service as Mexico City Bureau Chief. It was from her base in Mexico City that Walker came to understand the Mexican people and appreciate their rich culture, music and art, as well as the political, economic and social issues that shape their country.
Her coverage of Mexico and Central America won numerous national and international journalism awards. In 1997, she received a National Headliner Award for a 14-part serial narrative that showed the human drama of illegal immigration to the United States. Her coverage took her to remote corners of Mexico: to Chiapas, where she rented a plane to fly into Zapatista-held territory, and to a remote village in the mountains of Oaxaca where she traveled on horseback to report on rural poverty.
In 2004, Walker was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for “Beardstown: Reflection of a Changing America,” her four-part series about a small Illinois town that was transformed by immigration. That same year, she received the American Society of News Editors’ Diversity Award.
Walker received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2005 for her outstanding coverage of Latin America. In awarding the Cabot Prize judges said, “Among the many correspondents who cover the uneasy relationship between the United States and the countries south of the border, Walker stands out as one of the very few who manages to fully convey the human side of the story. With a natural sympathy for the underdog and a keen eye for detail, and by probing the depths of Latin American culture and society, Walker gives readers an unblemished view of and greater insight into the region.”
Before joining InquireFirst, Walker served for eight years as the vice president of the Institute of the Americas, a nonprofit organization on the University of California, San Diego, campus. There, Walker established the Institute’s regional journalism program, creating an international network of journalists and raising funds to provide them with scholarships to attend week-long journalism workshops that she organized and directed.
Walker continues to travel to Latin America to help colleagues there find new ways to produce in-depth reporting and broaden their audiences. She has conducted Spanish-language journalism workshops in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Argentina.