Ottavia Spaggiari


United States

Ottavia Spaggiari is an award-winning investigative journalist and long-form writer.

Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, The New Humanitarian and others.

Her long-form on human traffickers' impunity in Italy was shortlisted for the 2021 European Press Prize in the "distinguished reporting" category. The rights for this piece have also been recently optioned for screen adaptation.

In 2023 the piece she co-wrote about the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Belarus after the 2020 elections received the Amnesty Media Award for Best Feature.

Ottavia has been an investigative fellow at Columbia Journalism School’s Global Migration Project and a three-time recipient of the Investigative Journalism for Europe grant. She has worked in London for CNN International and in Milan for Vita, the Italian leading news website and magazine focusing on social issues.

From development aid to migration issues, from gender-based violence to police brutality, Ottavia has covered a wide range of topics, reporting from several European Countries, sub-Saharan Africa and the US.

She received her Master of Arts in Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a San Paolo fellow. She's been a guest lecturer at Columbia Journalism School and at La Sapienza University in Rome. She's also taught journalism at St. Joseph's University and at the City College of New York.

She speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.

Ottavia believes that wherever there is a human being there's always a good story to tell.



Bayous, A Refuge At Risk - The Margin

How a Decades-long Battle for Federal Recognition May Be the United Houma Nation's Last Chance at Survival I. On August 28, 2021, as Hurricane Ida barreled toward her hometown, Lois Salinas, an elder of the United Houma Nation remained unfazed.

The New Humanitarian
How European courts are wrongfully prosecuting asylum seekers as smugglers

ATHENS-LONDON-NEW YORK In May this year, a Greek court sentenced Abdallah, Kheiraldin, and Mohamad, three Syrian refugees whose full names have not been disclosed in court documents, to a combined 439 years in prison for "facilitating unauthorised entry" into Greece. The charges against them stemmed from a shipwreck that took place on Christmas Eve last year.

How dissent was crushed in Belarus

To this day, Nina* blames herself for taking her boyfriend Alex* to the protest in downtown Minsk. It was the evening of August 9, 2020, and earlier that day, the 25-year-olds had voted in their first presidential election. Like millions of other Belarusians, they had hoped their votes would change the trajectory of their country.

The New Yorker
When Climate Change and Xenophobia Collide

On August 31, 2019, Nadia, a stoic thirty-nine-year-old in pigtails, heard a voice through a loudspeaker on a vehicle circling the Mudd, her tranquil neighborhood in the Bahamas. "Seek shelter!" the voice said. For days, Nadia's two sons, aged six and ten, had been watching news reports about an incoming storm called Hurricane Dorian, which broadcasters warned would cause historic destruction on the islands.

'We have one enemy': The Belarusians who oppose the Ukraine war

Just before dawn on February 24, Marina, a 33-year-old IT specialist from Belarus, woke up in her Kraków apartment. She'd been having a nightmare. She noticed that her husband, Alexey, was not sleeping either. He was on his phone, reading the news. "Has it started?" Marina asked. "It has," he responded wearily.

The New Humanitarian
When a migrant drowns, a whole community feels the loss

PAKOUR, Senegal On an unknown day in 2015, a shipwreck off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea took the life of Binta Balde's second son. It was days before the news travelled the more than 3,400 kilometres back to the village of Anambe Counda in the remote south of Senegal where Binta lives and where her son, Demba, had been born.

the Guardian
Escape: the woman who brought her trafficker to justice

The long read: Thousands of young women leave home in Nigeria every year on the promise of a good job in Europe, only to be trapped by debt and forced into prostitution. But one joined forces with investigators in Italy to expose the traffickers

Slate Magazine
Italy's Anti-Vaxxers Aren't Backing Down

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Has No Idea How to Wear a Protective Mask The Times Can't Stop Pretending Trump Is a Normal President Democrats Actually Have a Chance to Win the Senate This Year The Problem With Being a Hero Is You Stop Being a Human Slate is making its coronavirus coverage free for all readers.