Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab Wilhelm
Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab Wilhelm, a winner of a 2014 ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award, is an investigative journalist whose reports have revealed corruption and public health threats in her country.
She began her journalism career as a reporter in 1991 for the newly founded Siglo 21, one of the country’s first newspapers with an investigative reporting unit. There, her stories ranged from long-form features on marginalized rural communities and the social exclusion of deaf people to even more in-depth investigations on the use of the Mexican passenger trains in drug trafficking and the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio.
Her coverage of a spill of flammable solvents in the sewers of a low-income neighborhood in Guadalajara, the country's second-largest city, revealed that despite being warned by experts about the possibility of a lethal explosion, local officials had not evacuated the area before a blast killed more than 250 people.
Her stories have had far-reaching implications. In 2013, von Bertrab, along with New York Times reporter David Barstow, won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing how Wal-Mart of Mexico was aggressively using bribery to dominate the market. Their reporting revealed Wal-Mart’s corrupt business practices to the public, which forced the company to release a report detailing their efforts to prevent future use of bribes and corrupt measures.
A freelance reporter, von Bertrab also shares her expertise in data-driven reporting by conducting training workshops for her fellow journalists.