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Cronkite Professor Named Contributing Opinion Columnist at The Washington Post

February 9, 2021

Fernanda Santos

By Lisa Diethelm

Fernanda Santos, a Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been named a contributing opinion columnist at The Washington Post.

In addition to her teaching duties at the Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix, Santos will write at least once a month on policies and issues in the Southwest for The Washington Post’s Opinions section.

“I will be writing about Arizona and the Southwest from the Southwest on a variety of issues: immigration, politics, and life and times in this part of the country,” she said. “Arizona is changing a lot, and that I believe it is a barometer to how change will happen in many other parts of the country.”

Santos started her journalism career in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was born. She speaks four languages — English, Portuguese, Spanish and French — and has used all of them while reporting in Latin America and the U.S. After 12 years at the New York Times, including five years as its Phoenix bureau chief, Santos joined the Cronkite School full time and teaches narrative journalism and bilingual reporting.

“Fernanda is the kind of teacher who gets as excited about her students’ stories as she does about her own. I have no doubt that she will bring a singular passion for truth and an uncanny ability to connect to the lived experiences of others to the pages of The Washington Post – just as she does to the classroom,” said Interim Dean Kristin Gilger.

When she is not working with her students, Santos also serves as a faculty member of the Poynter Institute's Power of Diverse Voices seminar and as a board member of the Arizona Latino Media Association. She is also a recipient of the Kiplinger, International Reporting Project, and Casey Children and Family fellowships, and is the author of “The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.”

Santos said she is most excited to cover and discuss the changes happening in the Southwest.

“I'm excited not only about the opportunity to write about a part of the country that I believe is a barometer to the way other parts of the country will be changing, both in terms of demographics and politics, but also to have a chance to elevate a voice that is not commonly heard on opinion pages of major national publications, which is the voice of an immigrant and a woman of color,” she said.