Marina Walker Guevara in ICIJ's Washington D.C. office.

INSIDE ICIJ

ICIJ’s deputy director is one of 2018’s ‘Great Immigrants’

ICIJ’s Deputy Director Marina Walker Guevara will be honored this Fourth of July by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her contributions to journalism. The organization selected Argentina-born Walker Guevara alongside 37 other naturalized citizens for the “Great Immigrants, Great Americans” tribute.

Andrew Carnegie, the namesake of the organization, was a 19th-century American steel magnate who emigrated from Scotland in his teenage years. Walker Guevara’s story shares  a similar thread; her grandparents migrated from Scotland to Argentina in the early 1900s.

“This recognition is both an honor and a responsibility, especially at a time when many immigrants are going through so much hardship in our country,” Walker Guevara said of the recognition.

Known for her tenacious cross-border reporting, Walker Guevara has conducted award-winning investigations into environmental damage caused by mining companies in Latin America, as well as abstinence-based HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns in Africa under the conservative eye of the George W. Bush administration.

More recently, Walker Guevara won a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting as one of the leaders of the Panama Papers investigation.

Born in the leafy Mendoza province of Argentina, Walker Guevara began her 20-year journalism career at Los Andes, a regional newspaper. In 2002, she was selected as an Alfred Friendly Press fellow, where she was placed at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Later, she attended the University of Missouri to earn a master’s of journalism.

She chose to stay in the U.S. during Argentina’s economic depression in the early 2000s while supporting her mother: “The U.S. was a place where I thought I could find what I was looking for journalistically, which was that investigative methodology, and I also thought I could get a job to support my mom better.”

Initially joining ICIJ as an intern, Walker Guevara soon ascended to the position of deputy director. Graciously, she attributes her success to friendly figures who assisted her.

“In most immigrant stories, it’s the people along the way [that make the difference],” Walker Guevara said.

“I got help from teachers, professors, colleagues, other journalists, mentors that would signal the way and give me a hand when I needed it.”

Also included in this year’s Great Immigrants line up are Iranian Dara Khosrowshahi, the current CEO of Uber and Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac who emigrated from Guatemala.