Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, former foreign correspondent, author of three books and mother of two young sons. Her work has appeared in publications including Smithsonian, Time, Fortune, Working Mother, The Atlantic Monthly and Conservation in Practice. She is a consulting writer with Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology and the monthly columnist for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, published by the Ecological Society of America. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists, as well as the Authors Guild.
From 1987-99, Ellison was based in Mexico and Rio de Janeiro as bureau chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers. She has also reported extensively from Central and South America, Asia and Africa. She has traveled underground with Eritrean guerrillas fighting the Ethiopian government, reported from the front lines of U.S.-backed wars in Central America, hunted for Nazis in Paraguay and Argentina and spent a week traveling with a band of Huichol Indians during their annual ceremonial peyote hunt in central Mexico. She has been taken hostage by Mexican peasants, arrested by Cuban police, tear-gassed in Panama, chased by killer bees and required to watch more World Cup events than she cares to remember. She now lives in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, where life is somewhat calmer.
In 1986, Ellison and two colleagues at the San Jose Mercury News won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for a series of articles that exposed how Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos had looted the Philippines' treasury and clandestinely purchased properties in the United States. The series led to congressional investigations in the United States and in the Philippines, which contributed to the Marcos' fall from power. Some of the material became the basis for Ellison's first book, Imelda: Steel Butterfly of the Philippines (McGraw-Hill, 1988).
Other journalism prizes Ellison has won include:
- The National Association of Hispanic Journalists' first-place award, in 1997, for coverage of problems with privatizations in Mexico and Argentina;
- The Inter-American Press Association's first-place award for feature-writing, won in both 1994 and 1995, for stories on politics and culture in South America;
- The Latin American Studies Association Media Award, in 1994, for several years of excellence in regional coverage;
- The Overseas Press Club Award, in 1989, for human rights reporting in Mexico and Nicaragua;
- The George Polk Award and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Award, in 1986, for coverage of the Philippines.