Julieta Martinelli is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and a Senior Producer at Futuro Media where she reports on injustice, immigration, and the criminal legal system for Latino USA, Futuro Studios and FUHI, Futuro’s investigative unit. She reported and co-produced Suave, a narrative podcast series about juvenile life without parole in the only nation in the world that still allows children to be sentenced to die in prison. Suave was recognized by the International Documentary Association as 2021’s best audio documentary series and was the recipient of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting.
As Soros Justice Media Fellow, she spent over a year traveling alone and collecting stories of asylum seekers stuck in Mexican shelters, documenting the human repercussions of changing legal policies along the U.S.- Mexico border. She previously covered the criminal legal system, policing, and immigration for Nashville Public Radio. Among other awards, her work was recognized by the Tennessee Associated Press three years in a row with first place awards in investigative reporting (audio). Her reporting helped lead to the release from prison of two incarcerated men, one of which had spent nearly two decades wrongfully convicted.
Her stories about immigrant youth, life in prison —and what happens after— have aired nationally on NPR programs including Here and Now, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered, and her original reporting has been discussed in WAMU’s 1A, the BBC, NBC and other national news outlets. She spent the first part of her career covering immigration, culture, and music for Spanish-language print publications in Georgia.
In between, due to her legal status, she worked a number of non-journalism jobs, including making tacos in a drive-thru, working at a music recording studio, eventually helping run one of the biggest nightlife companies in the state, to later helping lawyers representing undocumented and incarcerated clients, all of which she credits equally as the foundation, and sources of important lessons, on how to approach her work, and the people she writes about today.