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Our annual Reuters Memorial Lecture is delivered each year to a public audience by someone at the highest level of journalism. The lecture deals with a critical issue facing the news industry. The event includes a discussion hosted by the Chair of the Reuters Institute's Steering Committee.

Watch the 2021 Reuters Memorial Lecture

The event

Patrícia Campos Mello delivered the 2021 Reuters Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 8 June at 17:00 UK time. Patrícia is a reporter at large and a columnist for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Since 2018, she has published a series of stories about the illegal use of WhatsApp mass messaging to send false information and about the use of disinformation campaigns to manipulate public opinion in Brazil.

The event was held on Zoom. The title of Campos Mello's talk was How to rescue journalism in an age of lies. The lecture was followed by a conversation with Alan Rusbridger, Chair of the Reuters Institute's Steering Committee, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall and former editor-in-chief of the Guardian.

The speaker

Patrícia Campos Mello

Patrícia Campos Mello is a reporter at large and a columnist at the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. She has been covering international relations, economics and human rights for almost three decades and has reported from over 50 countries. 

Her work has been recognised with many awards, including the Maria Moors Cabot award at Columbia University, the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Red Cross Prize for humanitarian journalism, and the King of Spain Journalism Prize. She has published the book A máquina do ódio - notas de uma repórter sobre fake news e violência digital about the disinformation campaigns led by populist leaders in Brazil, India and the US, the intimidation of journalists led by Jair Bolsonaro and the erosion of freedom of the press in Brazil. Since 2018, she has been publishing a series of stories about illegal use of WhatsApp mass messaging to send false information and the use of disinformation campaigns to manipulate public opinion in Brazil. The series led to several ongoing investigations by the Federal Police and Electoral Court. The stories led the courts to change electoral regulations and ban mass messaging through WhatsApp. Recently, she has been covering the Covid-19 epidemic in Brazil, reporting from public hospitals and shelters for homeless populations affected by the disease.

Patrícia has a degree in Journalism from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a master’s in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University. She has reported from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Lebanon and Kenya reporting on refugees, and she was responsible for the project Mundo de Muros (World of Walls) that depicts the migration crisis on four continents. She was the only Brazilian reporter to cover the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, in 2014 and 2015. In 2017 she published her book Lua de Mel em Kobane, in which she tells the story of the war against Islamic State in Syria through the eyes of a refugee couple that she met there.  

Past Memorial Lectures

Previous speakers include: