Valeria Fernández is a Phoenix-based multi-media journalist. She has more than 15 years’ experience as a bilingual journalist and producer covering Arizona’s immigrant community and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Her award-winning, independent reporting has taken her throughout the world, and has focused on topics ranging from migrant kidnappings to racial profiling. Fernández contributes to CNN Spanish, Phoenix New Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Radio Bilingüe, PRI's Global Nation and "The World."
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.
Earlier in her career Fernández co-directed and produced with filmmaker Dan DeVivo, “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. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Arizona International Film Festival. It aired on Al Jazeera America in 2013 and was an official selection of the DocsDF Mexican Film Festival.
Fernández 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 multi-media project won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting.
As a fellow for the International Center for Journalists she published stories in 2017 for PRI's The World, and NPR’s Spanish podcast Radio Ambulante on human rights violations tied to the incarceration of Central-American youth
She started her career at La Voz newspaper in 2003. A year later, the National Association of Hispanic Publications named Fernández“Latina Journalist of the Year.”
This year she is a fellow for the Adelante initiative of the International Media Women Foundation. She's covering issues at the intersection of trauma, deportation and migration.
She is also the director of Cronkite Noticias an innovative initiate at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism to train bilingual journalist. She manages cronkitenews.azpbs.org and a student newscast that airs on Univision Arizona.
Immigrant communities connect with Indigenous products to nurture, heal during pandemic
Cihuapactli Collective, a group based in Phoenix, provides food packages to immigrant communities full of Indigenous products that connect and heal families with ancestral nutrition.
During 6-year-old Catalina’s lunch break from online school, she watches her mother, Sharah Nieto, as she prepares one of her favorite drinks on their patio. Nieto is making atole, a traditional Mexican drink using pinole (ground corn), almond milk and a bit of chocolate, served hot. Sharah Nieto grew up in California, but the smell of atole reminds her of her mom. Her parents are from Yucatan and Chihuahua, Mexico…Read more
Sara trembled, her eyes closed. Her small, 18-year-old figure was there in the passenger seat of my car, but her mind was locked behind a closed door. She grabbed her head. A vein in her forehead was swelling; it was as if her thoughts were exploding.
I was there in response to a desperate call. She said she was alone and afraid. Deeply afraid. She said she needed someone to talk to. It was 10 at night; I drove across town and picked her up.