08 July 1998


María Sagrario Dávila Honduras
Carla D’Nan Bass USA
Joventina Evaristo Da Silva Brazil
Michael Riley USA
  Testimony of Scholarship Winners    

It was September when I stepped down from the van on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The combination of colors immediately fi lled me with wonder -- in that season the trees shone yellow, orange and deep red --all mixed in with the deep green of the broad lawn.

But, since there is no such thing as eternal happiness, the first disappointment was soon to follow. After I enrolled in the Master’s in Journalism program, all I wanted was a taxi to take me from the William Allen White School of Journalism to a hotel -- between flight time and waiting in airports it had been 22 hours since I left Brasilia. It took two hours for the taxi to arrive. Public transportation is certainly not the forte of Lawrence, but it’s worth the sacrifice just to live in that city.

The course was, more than anything, a time to spend outside the newsroom – a time to read, to question journalism practices and to update myself on the latest in the profession. The professors were extremely receptive to my ideas and made a point to guide me so that I made the most of the opportunity. My IAPA contact, Zulay Dominguez Chirinos, also made it possible for me to get through the rough moments and fi nish the course.

Upon my return to Brazil I went back to work at the same newspaper, same desk and the same job as I had before investing in education. The master’s degree, however, opened my eyes and made me think in new ways. In mid-2002, late on a day just like any other in the newsroom, I came across a story that appeared to be insignificant but I decided to dig into it. That year I won the Esso Journalism Award, the highest in Brazil. The Justice Department tried to silence my reports but that only gained them greater attention.

Today I work in media relations and media training. It’s a side of journalism that I like more and more every day.