Author and journalist Alfredo Corchado delivered the 37th Joe Alex Morris Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism on Nov. 14, 2018. The annual Morris Lecture is presented an American overseas correspondent or commentator on foreign affairs who is invited to Harvard to speak about international news coverage.
Corchado is the Mexico-border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News. He has reported on the reach of Mexican drug cartels into the United States, the plight of Mexican and Central American immigrants in the U.S. and government corruption on both sides of the border.
Born in Durango, Mexico, Corchado was raised in California and Texas. He worked the fields of California alongside his parents, who were members of the United Farm Workers union led by Cesar Chavez. He began his career in journalism at the El Paso Herald-Post before joining The Wall Street Journal.
His many honors include the Maria Moors Cabot Prize and the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism. He is a former director of the Borderlands Program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2018.
A 2009 Nieman Fellow, Corchado is the author of “Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness” and “Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration.”
He has done research as a public policy fellow at the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute; a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard; a Lannan Residency Fellow; a fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego; and as a 2017 resident fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Corchado lives between El Paso and Mexico City but calls the border home.
The Morris Lecture honors Joe Alex Morris Jr., a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times who was killed while covering the Iranian Revolution in Tehran in February 1979. Morris was a member of the Harvard class of 1949. After first working as a local reporter at The Hartford Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, he traveled abroad to work on assignment in Europe and then the Middle East for UPI, the New York Herald Tribune, Newsweek and later the Los Angeles Times. He reported from the Middle East for 25 years. The lectureship in his name was created in 1981 by his family, Harvard classmates and friends. That same year, Morris posthumously received the Nieman Fellows’ Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity.