Juanita León is a Colombian journalist and editor. As an Open Society Fellow, León launched an investigative news blog in Colombia called La Silla Vacía (“the Empty Chair”). The site features original investigative pieces, multimedia content, opinion and commentary, and hosts debates. It combines professional reporting and reader-generated content.
La Silla Vacía has broken numerous stories of topical importance in Colombia, including reports on the rejection of the new elections law by the Supreme Court, the demobilization of right-wing paramilitaries, the environmental impact of mining, real-estate speculation, and presidential and local elections. A 2007 Harvard Neiman Fellow, León also led the launch of the online American magazine Flypmedia. Previously she directed the online edition of one of Colombia’s largest weeklies, Semana, where she oversaw investigative reporting that helped uncover ties between paramilitaries and more than 50 members of President Álvaro Uribe’s coalition.
She is the author of two books, including Country of Bullets: Chronicles of War (New Mexico University Press, 2009), about the internal conflict in Colombia. She has also taught classes on multimedia and investigative journalism at New York University and at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá.