When you interview other people alongside Patricia Guerra, you immediately realize that she is exhaustively well-prepared and enviably hard-working. If you’ve traveled with her any distance, you also know she’s a true coffee enthusiast.
But what may draw you to her the most is her sense of humor and her warmth of spirit. She can make anyone feel instantly comfortable, and her sense of adventure is palpable.
Guerra has reported on everything from white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, to the lack of federal aid after hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, to the growing Chinese influence in Latin America.
I spoke with her about why she became a journalist and why the best reporting–international or domestic–is full of nuance and complexity.
I grew up in Mexico, and there was corruption and injustice in many places. I wanted to work against that, and it seemed like the most viable option was journalism because the legal system was also corrupted. So that’s why I got into it. It’s also a faster method than the legal system. So that was appealing to me, as well. It was an immediate way to effect action.
I mostly produce pieces, which means I’m either on the field–field-producing them–or I’m in the office, cutting the material into a package. But I also shoot and I also write and I can also edit. My favorite is field-producing and cutting-producing. Figuring out what the story is; seeing raw footage and saying, This is how we tell the story.
I am naturally interested by stories that are complex and multifaceted. And when I read about the malaria fight in this country [Rwanda], particularly as it relates to rice farming, it seemed like a very interesting and complex problem. So, I was interested in exploring stories that had multiple sides to them.
–As told to Melody Schreiber, 2019 IWMF Fellow to Rwanda