The Pulitzer Center’s executive editor, Marina Walker Guevara, delivered the keynote address at the Chicago Headline Club’s 10th annual FOIA Fest. Walker Guevara, an investigative journalist, discussed her experience overseeing cross-border, collaborative projects, and highlighted how journalists developed reporting networks during the pandemic to overcome mobility restrictions and other challenges.
Prior to her time at the Pulitzer Center, she served as deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Among other projects, Walker managed production of The Panama Papers and The Paradise Papers, which involved hundreds of journalists using technology to unravel stories of public interest from terabytes of leaked financial data.
During her FOIA Fest speech, she emphasized the importance of building trust with partners and sources through shared values, including humility.
“We acknowledge that there are stories that transcend us, that are bigger than our individual ambitions, newsroom politics, and our ego. We put the story at the center of all of our efforts. We don’t collaborate just out of the goodness of our hearts. We do it for the sake of the story, the audience, and the community,” she said.
FOIA Fest is the Chicago Headline Club’s signature training event. The conference is designed to help reporters, community organizers, and everyday people learn about freedom of information requests—from the basics to long-term investigative projects.