Sheila Coronel began reporting in the Philippines during the twilight of the Marcos dictatorship, when she wrote for the underground opposition press and later for mainstream magazines and newspapers. As Marcos lost power and press restrictions eased, she reported on human rights abuses, the growing democratic movement and the election of Corazon Aquino as president.
In 1989, Coronel and her colleagues founded the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Under Coronel's leadership, the Center became the leading investigative reporting institution in the Philippines and Asia. In 2001, the Center’s reporting led to the fall of President Joseph Estrada. In 2003, Coronel won Asia’s premier prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Coronel has written and edited more than a dozen books on the Philippines, freedom of information and investigative journalism. She has trained journalists around the world and written investigative reporting textbooks for journalists in Southeast Asia and the Balkan region. She speaks frequently at international investigative reporting conferences and writes about global investigative journalism.
Coronel joined the faculty of the Journalism School in 2006, when she was named director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. In 2011, she received one of Columbia University’s highest honors, the Presidential Teaching Award.
Coronel believes we are in a pivotal moment for investigative reporting, one that is ripe with opportunity but also fraught with challenges and threats. Coronel’s work outside of the Journalism School reflects her desire to build strong institutions that support free and independent reporting in a turbulent media landscape. She is chair of the Media Development Investment Fund board. She also sits on the boards of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Columbia Journalism Review, ProPublica and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. She is also a member and former board chair of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Her recent work is on the populist Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and police abuses in the war on drugs.