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Prior to joining Cronkite, Arrillaga served as the enterprise editor for The Associated Press. Her work helped shape coverage examining the effects of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on children and families. She was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting and was a winner of an RFK Journalism Award and also the John Seigenthaler Prize for Courage in Reporting. She oversaw the AP’s series last year on missing and murdered Native American women, winner of the Dori J. Maynard Award for Justice in Journalism, the Les Payne Award for Coverage on Communities of Color, and other honors.
Arrillaga began her career in Dallas as an intern for the AP. She later covered state politics in Austin, the space program and prison system in Houston, served as a desk supervisor in Dallas, and was the company’s correspondent on the Texas-Mexico border, writing about immigration and the growing influence of Hispanics in America.
She later was named Southwest regional writer based in Phoenix, and she was promoted to the coveted role of national writer in 2002, specializing in long-form narratives and covering major news events from presidential elections to the attack on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Her stories have captured numerous accolades, including a 2005 Livingston Award for “Doors to Death,” an investigative series examining human smuggling across the border. As both a writer and editor, Arrillaga has long focused on issues affecting Latinos and Native Americans and has reported from Native American communities across the West.