Chris Walker is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Denver, Colorado.
His work has featured in The Atlantic, Playboy, the Atavist Magazine, VICE, NPR, Rock and Ice, Forbes, Backpacker, Westword, and LA Weekly -- among others. Walker's career began in 2012, when he and another reporter rode bicycles 16,000 miles from France to China. Named Postulate One, the project was a bootstrap experiment in on-the-ground reporting. Cycling allowed the pair to find scoops off the beaten track, launching them into investigations of orphanage tourism in Cambodia, child boxing and gambling in rural Thailand, India's evolving transgender community, Uighur rappers in western China, and a climber's daring self-rescue on the border of Russia.
Upon returning stateside, Walker spent one year writing for LA Weekly, and then three and a half years as a staff writer for Denver's alt-weekly, Westword, where he specialized in narrative longform reporting. His 37 cover stories at the paper addressed a wide variety of topics, but were generally character- and scene-driven pieces that could teach readers about personalities or subcultures they were previously unfamiliar with. Those ranged from profiles of iconoclastic lawyers and musicians in the Mile High City to embedding with an armed, anti-government militia in southern Colorado.
In 2018, Walker's story about Denver's secret LSD labs in the 1960's was selected by the SPJ for its national Sigma Delta Chi award in feature writing.
In 2019, Walker was awarded a first place prize in immigration reporting by the Best of the West Contest for a story about a Pakistani man who, paradoxically, couldn't get himself deported from the U.S. despite his best efforts.
Other awards include:
-The Child Welfare League of America's Anna Quindlen Award in 2016
-Two time finalist for the Livingston Award for young journalists in 2013 and 2020, both in the international reporting category
-numerous first place SPJ "Top of the Rockies" awards
-numerous first place Colorado Press Association awards
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*Named a finalist for the Livingston Award in 2020
Published by Rock and Ice Magazine, 2.1.19
Adolfo Benegas and Eric Bender vanished on the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere – Aconcagua – without a trace in 1990. After 29 years of searching, Benegas’ brother has found plane wreckage, stranded climbers, other remains and even a haunting. What he hasn’t found are answers. READ MORE --->
*First Place Winner in the category of Arts and Entertainment at SPJ's 2016 "Top of the Rockies" Awards
Published in Westword, 11.17.15
Rachel Aboytes' life was cut short when she was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Denver. What happened next was surreal for her family: Aboytes has become canonized as a cult icon of Spanish rap, with fandom extending beyond the United States.
Nicknamed “Baby Smiley,” Aboytes was relatively obscure when she was alive. In death, the Chicana rapper's legacy has taken on a life of its own. READ -->
Published in LA Weekly, 2.4.15
Most of L.A.'s cycling competitions remain underground, like The Fast and the Furious on bikes. Cyclists meet late at night for races throughout the city, usually organized on social media so that police cannot know the locations and shut them down. Most people agree the scene took off thanks to a single group: Midnight Ridazz, whose origins can be traced to a chilly evening in February 2004, when six cyclists and two skateboarders spontaneously decided to tour the fountains of downtown Los Angeles. READ MORE -->
Published by NPR, 5.14.13
Co-Authored with Morgan Hartley
*Named a finalist for the Livingston Award in 2013
If someone asked you to bet on the outcome of a nine-year old’s boxing match, would you do it? In Thailand’s rural villages, it happens all the time, where child boxing and gambling are among the oldest traditions of Muay Thai fighting. This feature digs into the lives, ethics, and economics behind one of Thailand’s most controversial sports. The story follows the daily routine of a nine-year old fighter named Chai, and the pressures he faces as his village puts its money on him. --> CLICK
Published in The Atlantic, 6.3.13
Co-Authored with Morgan Hartley
Seyma is an eleven year old Cambodian boy who lives at an orphanage on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Carl is a 24 year old Australian volunteer who has become like a father figure to him. The problem is that Seyma is not actually an orphan. Neither are any but one of the children who live at SCAO -- the Save Poor Children in Asia Organization. In fact, 71 percent of all children in Cambodia’s “orphanages” have parents, but that hasn’t stopped a recent surge of parents like Seyma’s who have sacrificed the upbringing of their kids to provide education and opportunity for them in urban centers. Seyma’s mother leaves it up to volunteers like Carl to raise her son. But is this a good thing? --> CLICK
1.8.15, LA Weekly -- 'A Profile of Xander Mozejewski'
7.8.14, LA Weekly -- 'The Wildest Party in L.A. History'
10.29.13, The Atlantic -- 'China's Uighur Rappers'
10.9.13, Afar Magazine -- 'The Great Central Asian Bike Trip'
5.14.13, NPR -- 'Thailand's Child Boxers Slug It Out'
12.16.12, Forbes -- 'Culture Shock in India's Call Centers'
8.12.12, The Ecologist -- 'A Tale of Coal and Controversy'