MIAMI, Florida (August 2, 2011)— The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) announced today the winners of the annual awards made by the organization to encourage excellence in journalism and defense of freedom of expression throughout the Americas. This year the IAPA Grand Prize for Press Freedom was awarded to Robert Cox for his long career as a journalist and his courage in the defense of freedom of the press and of expression. The information was provided by Clemente Vivanco of Quito, Ecuador, newspaper La Hora, chairman of the IAPA’s Awards Committee.
Winners in 11 categories will be presented with their awards during the IAPA’s 67th General Assembly, to be held in Lima, Peru, October 14-18 at the Swissotel hotel. “We are delighted to have received such a high number of high-quality entries,” Vivanco said. “The awards and honorable mentions that we are announcing today are a reflection of the better journalism being practiced today in the Americas.” The prizes consist of $2,000 cash, as well as plaques and diplomas.
“This year we have awarded the IAPA Grand Prize to Robert Cox, a veteran and admired journalist, in recognition of his long professional career and his exemplary life. His biography illustrates like no other the importance of the press in the defense of freedom in the face of dictatorships of any stripe,” declared IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21.
For his long career as a journalist, his unceasing defense of democratic values and of freedom of the press and of expression, as he demonstrated during his work at the head of the Buenos Aires Herald denouncing, at the risk of his life, the crimes of the Argentine military dictatorship.
Robert J. Cox (born 1933), is a distinguished British-born journalist who worked as editor of the Buenos Aires Herald, aimed at the British community in Argentina. Cox stood out for his courage during the years of the military dictatorship (1976-1983). On his initiative the Buenos Aires Herald was the first news media outlet to report, openly and systematically, that the military government was kidnapping people and making them disappear. As a reporter he exposed the fact that the military were using crematoria at the Chacarita cemetery to incinerate the bodies of prisoners.
Cox himself was arrested unlawfully and for that reason had to leave Argentina in 1979. Resident in the United States, he came to be managing editor of the newspaper The Post and Courier, the principal media of the group that owned the Buenos Aires Herald.
The Buenos Aires City Legislature in 2005 recognized his bravery as a journalist during the military dictatorship. He was president of the IAPA in 2001-2002. He is currently retired.
Following are the categories and the names of the contestants who won awards and honorable mentions:
1. IAPA Inter-American Relations Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Award (sponsored by La Prensa, Managua, Nicaragua)
John MacCormack, San Antonio Express-News, Texas
“The Sunday Focus” section presents a series of five works which, under the headline MEXICO IN CRISIS, deals with the effects of the drug traffickers’ war on both sides of the Mexico-United States border. An encompassing look, on a macro and micro scale, at the complex story of economic, social, cultural and historic links of the two countries. The author uses reference material, interviews and his own inquiries as a reporter covering the area and even going into dangerous zones. The graphic design of the series and the photos accompanying it are excellent.
2. IAPA Human Rights and Service to the Community Award (sponsored by Panamá-América, Panama City, Panama; El Comercio, Lima, Peru; Organización Publicitaria, S.A., San Pedro Sula, Honduras; La Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Mario Alejandro Muñoz de Loza, El Informador, Mexico, for the extensive and multiple investigation “México pierde a sus jóvenes” (Mexico Is Losing Its Young People)
On the occasion of the centenary of Independence and the Revolution this diligent and detailed study, presented in chapters, on the theme of the Mexican youth. More than 200 interviews of researchers and figures linked to this demographic group; information gathered from the federal and state governments, and official statistics. Graphics and photos enhance the content.
3. IAPA Newspaper in Education Award (Sponsored by Novedades de Quintana Roo, Cancún, Mexico, and El Diario de Hoy, San Salvador, El Salvador)
Members of the Education Department of El Diario de Hoy, El Salvador (Lorena Martínez, Cristina Alvarado, César Rodríguez, Karina Ronquillo, Patricia Arévalo, Moris Aldana and Roberto Gómez) for “Educa Hoy” (Educating Today), an educational program of the newspaper that is a major contribution to the development of the education of the children and youths of El Salvador.
The project, which gathers 23 years of history, publishes support materials for language, social science and child entertainment programs, as well providing methodological assistance to teachers, sponsoring schools and encouraging volunteerism among young people. Achievements in 2010: 40 school publications, donations of 72,800 books (collection of publications) to 350 rural schools in which thousands of young volunteers took part; training of 1,000 teachers, among other activities.
The adjudication panel recommends in addition awarding an honorable mention to Staff of the newspaper El Carabobeño, Venezuela (Heyly Coromot Bernal and others), for the event “Feria Prensa Escuela” (Press School Fair), part of the Newspaper in Education program.
The Fair, which is held for five years now, promotes the exhibition; evaluation and awarding of prizes for apprenticeship projects that seek to encourage reading through the use of the newspaper. It also presents cultural spectacles. Taking part in the event are the school, community, parents, representatives of the private sector and the newspaper. At the 5th Fair there were 80 students and 40 teachers exhibiting and a total of 2,500 visitors.
4. IAPA Opinion Award (Sponsored by El Mercurio, Santiago, Chile)
Nilson Souza, Zero Hora, Brazil, for a series of editorials on social issues (one devoted to education, another to lack of safety and three to electoral questions). Among all the entries this series of editorials – hardly a sample –stands out, which deals with issues of enormous social interest. Using plain language, but without shying away from the complexity of the various issues, it is a contribution to learning about civility and democracy. In addition it should be pointed out that the editorials are published first in the newspaper’s online edition, which ensures that the printed version can gather readers’ opinions. It thus is an exercise in modern journalism in which the newspaper and its audience have a dialogue, in contrast to the traditional monologue in which the columnist discourses from his or her own “truth.”
5. IAPA News Coverage Award (Sponsored by El Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela and O Estado de S. Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
O Dia, Brazil (Adriana Crus, Isabel Boechat, Maria Inez Magalhães, Paula Sarapu) for coverage of the raid on the Alemão shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, which stands out among many high-quality works that were entered in this category. The work of the team of reporters and photographers covers all the aspects of an issue extraordinarily well presented.
The adjudication panel in addition recommends the award of an honorary mention to the Newsroom of El Mercurio, Chile (Rocío de los Ángeles Montes, Cecilia Derpich, Guillermno Muñoz, Gabriel Pardo Matías Bakit), for their coverage of the rescus of the Atacama miners. The rescue of the Chilean miners caught the attention of the entire world. Here is a team coverage in which are interwoven various aspects of the story (historical, social, technical and human) to show us the achievement of the rescue and the bravery of these men regarded as heroes. A good combination of journalistic genres and photographic and infographic resources.
6. IAPA In-Depth Journalism Award (Sponsored by The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida)
Leonencio Nossa Junior, Celso Júnior, O Estado de S. Paulo, Brazil, for their “Guerras desconhecidas do Brasil” (Unknown Wars of Brazil), a special 24-page notebook with nine of some 32 conflicts forgotten or unknown in the history of Brazil.
Painstaking, detailed and magnificent work of research and tapping of news sources carried out during 17 months. An investigation, with the character of exposure, that surpasses the criteria of excellence in journalism and which stands out for the quality of its texts and the images that accompany it. Putting things in historical context is one of its greatest achievements. A team work – writing, photography, design and illustration all together. It had a notable repercussion at the national level, being regarded as one of the best investigative reporting works of the decade.
The adjudication panel recommends in addition the award of two honorable mentions:
1st Honorable Mention:
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, United States, for its impactful exposure of the global asbestos trade that principally affects those living in developing countries.
“Dangers in the Dust: Inside the Global Asbestos Trade” is a solid investigation – the result of teamwork by the ICIJ and the BBC – based on painstaking search for information and use of sources and documents in eight countries. Despite the fact that the use of asbestos is prohibited or restricted in more than 50 countries the investigation shows how industrial groups are spending huge sums of money to promote it. The conclusions alert to the danger of the industrial use of asbestos and warn that in less than 20 years it could cost the lives of 10 million people around the world.
2nd Honorable Mention:
Marcelo Gomes Pereira, Extra, Brazil, for his series “Violência sem fronteiras” (Violence without Borders), about the arms trade between the United States and Brazil and the crimes and violent events it sparks.
The investigation, which meant three months of work in Washington, abounds in facts and statistics, but without boring the reader with an excess of information. Interviewed were more than 60 players involved in the matter, of major social repercussion in the hemisphere. An intense work of sourcing and interpretation of data. Good design an infographics.
7. IAPA Features Award (Sponsored by El Comercio, Quito, Ecuador) and McClatchy Newspapers, Sacramento, California)
Alejandro Mareco, La Voz del Interior, Argentina, for his series “Argentinos del Bicentenario” (Argentines of the Bicentennial).
On the occasion of the commemoration of 200th anniversary the newspaper presents this series which shows Argentina throughout its geography. From point to point the histories of the life that are related manage to reflect the idiosyncrasies of the country’s inhabitants. The 90 days of work and the 26,000 miles covered gave as a result a collection of vibrant testimonies of great journalistic value. Accompanying the author’s text with its personal impressions are interviews with Argentines living in the interior.
The adjudication panel recommends in addition awarding an honorable mention to Nilson Mariano, Zero Hora, Brazil, for his “52 historias que não acabaram” (52 Stories That Never Ended)
An audacious and painstaking work that goes for not letting stories that once were news be forgotten. To rescue stories that were published years ago, update them and relate them once more with new facts is an original way to do journalism, with stories that are touching and reveal a whole epoch to us.
8. IAPA Photography Award (Sponsored by The Washington Post Company, Washington, DC, and ABC Color, Asunción, Paraguay)
Rodrigo Buendía Herdoiza, Agence France Presse (AFP), Ecuador, for his impactful photos of the police rebellion of September 30, 2010 against Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. Outstanding is the drama of the images and the ability of the photographer to capture the moment – with risk to his personal safety – that later will make history.
9. IAPA Cartoons Award (Sponsored by El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia)
Xavier Bonilla Zapata, El Universo, Ecuador, for his series devoted to statements by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on control of the internet.
The adjudication panel recommends in addition award of an honorable mention to Gabriel Bozone, El Carabobeño, Venezuela, for his series on the expropriations policy and totalitarian zeal of President Hugo Chávez. To the news value of the cartoon is added a touch of irony that makes the reader think.
10. IAPA Infographics Award (Sponsored by Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Cristian Fiol, Francisco Escudero, Roberto Ortega, Natalia Herrera, Juan Pablo Bravo, René Olivares, Jorge Marambio P., El Mercurio, Chile, for their series of infographics, in August 2010 dealing with the “contact with and rescue of the Atacama miners,” one of the journalistic highlights of 2010. An infographics maker went to the site to design the themes, with the support of the whole team. The result is six infographics, of various sizes and complexity, to give account in real time of an historic event. With a simple style, combined diagrams, drawings, photographs and brief explanations the infographics fulfilled their role of supporting the information and themselves being information of interest.
11. IAPA Online News Coverage Award (Sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY)
Santiago Dapelo, Luis Casabal, Gastón De La Llana, Juan López, Sandra Venditti and Martín Turnes of La Nación, Argentina, for the multimedia special “Camino del Bicentenario” (Path to the Bicentennial), about commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the May Revolution. An almost encyclopedic production with a mass of research and analysis and use of multiple sources (including interactive ones) that is inspired in the past in order to end up in the present regarding such key questions as “democracy” and “Argentinism,” among others. The interviews (31 political, cultural and sports figures) alone are worth recognition.
The adjudication panel in addition recommends award of an honorable mention to Felipe Andrés Gálvez Tabach, Juan Pablo Martínez and David Navarro of Emol.com (El Mercurio, Chile) for their special coverage “Terremoto en Chile” (Earthquake in Chile). From February 2010, and to date, 10 sections (news, maps, help, missing, photos, videos, Twitter, testimonies, earthquakes in Chile, figures) have covered all the aspects of the tragedy. A whole range of resources (testimonies, the despatch of photos, search messages) are brought to bear to inform, channel aid and serve as a point of liaison among Chileans.
Clemente Vivanco, La Hora, Quito, Ecuador
Cristina Aby-Azar, The Wall Street Journal, New Jersey, NJ
Carlos Besanson, Diario del Viajero, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Bruce Brugmann, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco, California
Francisco Chamorro, El Nuevo Diario, Managua, Nicaragua
Martín Etchevers, Olé, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Francisco Fascetto, Diario Popular, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lisa Klem, United Media, New York, NY
André Jungblut, Gazeta do Sul, Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil
Ed McCullough, Associated Press, Miami, Florida
Francisco Montes, Diario de Cuyo, San Juan, Argentina
José Luis Parra, El Mercurio, Santiago, Chile
Carlos Salinas, El Diario de Coahuila, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
Gilberto Urdaneta, El Regional de Zulia, Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela
Johnny A. Yataco, Washington Hispanic, Washington, DC