Stories by

Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

By Isabella Paoletto

All her life, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio has watched her parents work as foreign correspondents in Latin America and the Middle East.

Giulia, now 23, saw firsthand the difficulties that came with pursuing a career in journalism, whether it be low pay, long hours or even living in another country. She was unsure if journalism was the right path for her.

Giulia knew she wanted to pursue a career that would combine social justice and writing. After her sophomore year at Williams College as a Latin American history major, she began writing while working as a research and publications intern for a nonprofit in Boston that focuses on indigenous rights.

The experience, including her first article on the group’s website, put her on the path to journalism.

When Giulia told her parents that she had finally settled into the idea of being a journalist, they were supportive.

“When I told them that I did want to do this,” she said, “I think they were happy, maybe a bit nervous because obviously they've been through it.”

Giulia said her favorite story to report this year was about people in New York who were trying to find missing family members who had crossed the border from Mexico into the United States.

She interviewed a woman whose son had tried to travel north from Ecuador to Mexico and was believed to have disappeared in 2012. Another woman she interviewed had been searching for her mother since the 1990s and was later able to confirm her death through DNA testing of a skull found along the border.

“It was good to find that angle here in New York and show that there are these people all across the U.S.,” Giulia said. “The pain of this doesn't just happen on the border.”

Giulia received her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2019. In the summer, she will be joining The Los Angeles Times as a metro reporting intern.

“Starting out as a metro reporter, I’m excited for that,” Giulia said. “Eventually, my dream is immigration reporter on the border or Latin America.”

Ivan Armando Flores/NYT Institute

Thousands of migrants have vanished near the United States-Mexico border, leaving their families to wrestle with stalled investigations and attempts at extortion. Experts warn that people trying to enter the country could lead to more disappearances.

Miles de migrantes han desaparecido en la frontera de los Estados Unidos y México. Sus familias luchan con investigaciones interminables y atentos de extorsión. Mientras que muchos migrantes siguen su camino norte a Estados Unidos, expertos dicen que estas desapariciones van a seguir ocurriendo.