Patrícia Campos Mello is a reporter at large and columnist at Folha de São Paulo newspaper. For over 20 years, she has been covering international relations, economics and human rights, and has reported from over 50 countries. She has been awarded the Maria Moors Cabot award in 2020, International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in 2019; the Vladimir Herzog Special Award for Democracy and Justice in 2019, the International Committee of the Red Cross Prize for humanitarian journalism in 2017, the King of Spain Journalism Prize in 2018, Petrobras Prize (2018 and 2017, main award in Brazil), Folha and Estado Prizes.
She just published the book “A máquina do ódio – notas de uma repórter sobre fake news e violência digital” (Companhia das Letras), about disinformation campaigns and intimidation of journalists led by the Bolsonaro administration 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 fake news and propaganda to manipulate public opinion during the Brazilian electoral campaign in 2018, with illegal financing from businessmen and use of foreign marketing agencies, and other disinformation campaigns. The series led to several investigations by the Federal Police and Electoral Court, which are ongoing. In October 2019, Whats App admitted to the illicit use of the platform in the 2018 elections. The stories led the Judiciary system to change electoral regulations and ban, in 2019, mass messaging by WhatsApp. President Bolsonaro sued Patricia, demanding that she disclose all the sources in the stories, and he lost the lawsuit.
Recently, she has been covering the Covid-19 epidemic in Brazil, reporting from public hospitals and shelters for homeless populations affected by the disease.
She was the Washington correspondent for the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper between 2006 and 2010. She covered the economic crisis in the USA, and the 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections; the war in Afghanistan in 2009, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
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, where she received a university scholarship. In the last few years, she has spent time in 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 (Honeymoon in Kobane) with Companhia das Letras, 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.
She is the mother of Manuel, who is 8 years old.