S. Lynne Walker, 47, has been the Mexico City Bureau Chief for Copley News Service for the past 11 years, covering major news events including the 1994 armed Zapatista uprising in Chiapas state, the assassination of a presidential candidate, the historic election of President Vicente Fox and Pope John Paul II's visits to Mexico.
Walker is a 1977 graduate of the journalism program at the University of Hawaii, which helped her land her first newspaper job at The Honolulu Advertiser when she was 18 years old.
Following a 2 1/2-year stint at the Advertiser, Walker moved to the Tampa Times, where she covered the murder trials of Theodore Robert Bundy. She worked at the Sacramento Union as a business writer, then moved to The San Diego Union-Tribune, which dispatched her to cover the Persian Gulf War before she joined Copley News Service. It was in San Diego that Walker began her coverage of Mexico, learning Spanish so she would have access to people whose voices are rarely heard in daily newspaper reporting.
Walker, a native of Atlanta, Ga., has received numerous honors for her immigration coverage. In 1989, she received a Gerald Loeb Award for a five-part series, "The Invisible Work Force," on Mexico's Mixtec Indians who migrated to San Diego's farm fields. In 1997, she received a National Headliner Award for a 14-part serial narrative, "Journey to the Promised Land," which showed the human drama of illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States.
Last year, Walker expanded her coverage beyond Mexico's borders when she traveled to Beardstown, Ill., to tell the story of residents in all-white, Midwestern town whose lives were drastically changed when a pork slaughterhouse opened its doors and recruited Hispanic workers.
The result of her reporting was a four-part series, entitled "Beardstown: Reflection of a Changing America," which offered a portrait of the 7,000-person town that has been rocked by a 3,229 percent increase in its Hispanic population over the past decade.
For that series, Walker was a Pulitzer finalist for national reporting and received the Freedom Forum/American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for outstanding writing on diversity at an April 23, 2004, awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.