04 July 1979


Laurel L. Wentz USA
Beatriz Parga Colombia
Mónica Verde Chile
Ma. de Fatima Costa Santana Brazil
Jane B. Baird Puerto Rico
Mario Boada Chile
Gey Louise Smith USA
  Testimony of Scholarship Winners    

I traversed the jungle trails of the “Contras” in Nicaragua when the region was bloodied by the clash between two ideologies. I have been in danger following the Coyote tracks from Mexico to California. In Iquitos, Peru, I witnessed the first meeting between Amazon Indians and international environmentalists. I covered the Mariel boatlift and witnessed the arrival in Miami of dozens of boat people seeking their freedom at any cost. I interviewed the famous “Commander Zero,” and Pedro Joaquin Chamorro and Sergio Ramírez during a debate on press freedom in Sandinista Nicaragua. I covered as an undercover correspondent - undercover for my own safety -- the difficult 80’s drug traffi cking in Miami for El Tiempo, Bogota. And many more stories.

With the IAPA scholarship I studied a first year at Florida International University (FIU) and then continued my studies with “The Best and The Brightest” and California Rotary Club scholarships. My articles were distributed for 12 years by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International; I worked at El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald. For the past thirteen years I  have collaborated with Diario Las Americas in Miami, also with CNN, Channel 23 and a radio Caracol. I have worked with top international journals and interviewed innumerous entertainment stars. I have written three books. The last, La Maestra y el Nobel (about Garcia Marquez’ first teacher), has a chance of being turned into a film. If that happens, I would hope for an Oscar to crown this great list of opportunities that would never have come my way had it not been for the IAPA scholarship that was so important in my life and that of my children, Caroline and Sylvia Bayon, and David Spiegel. My long career proves that I’ve always upheld what for me has been a major commitment and a great privilege.

I studied at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism where I earned the Master of Arts in Journalism that would become the cornerstone of my career. Upon returning to Chile I participated in the production of TV series Mundo -- scientifi c and technical reports that were recorded in over 30 countries and aired on Channel 13 TV. I was executive producer of news programs on Channel 13 until 1996 when I was appointed Dean of Journalism at the Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago.

I’ve been a columnist on technology issues for several newspapers and a university professor of television and online journalism. In 2009 I was named managingeditor of Online TVN, in charge of the information and entertainment portals for Chile’s public television network. As part of the program I lead TVN turn-lab, a laboratory of exploration and innovation in areas related to new online media experiences and development of new interactive media platforms. I also write a blog on technology and the online culture as part of an academic project with the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez.