Columbia University Honors Ethnic Media
NEW YORK —The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has announced the 2010 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. The oldest international award in journalism, now in its 72nd year, the Cabot Prize honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding.
The 2010 gold medalists are freelance reporter Tyler Bridges; Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of “Esta Noche” and Confidencial; Norman Gall, founder and editor of Braudel Papers; and Joaquim Ibarz, blogger and correspondent for La Vanguardia. Special Citations are awarded to Haiti’s Signal FM radio station, and to CNN and the program Anderson Cooper 360º for coverage of January’s earthquake in Haiti.
“For seven decades, Columbia University has proudly awarded Maria Moors Cabot Prizes as recognition of the best journalists covering the Americas,” said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School. “This year’s recipients exemplify that tradition. I thank them for their efforts to help us better understand the Americas.”
Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger will present medals and $5,000 honoraria to Bridges, Chamorro, Gall and Ibarz at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, October 28 on the university’s Morningside Heights campus. Mario Viau, managing director of Signal FM, and CNN’s Cooper will accept the citations.
Tyler Bridges, Freelancer
Tyler Bridges is an exemplar of a tragically endangered species—the dedicated U.S. foreign correspondent covering Latin America. Over a long and distinguished career, he has become one of the foremost reporters and interpreters of the region for readers in the United States. Reflecting his commitment to the region, even after the The Miami Herald yielded to budget pressures and eliminated his full-time position, Bridges remained in Lima with his family to continue covering the beat as a freelancer for a variety of publications—including The Herald. Bridges began his love affair with Latin America just after college when he went to work for the legendary The Daily Journal in Caracas nearly 30 years ago. Bridges continued as a freelancer, a prize-winning reporter for the The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, a member of two Pulitzer Prize winning teams at The Miami Heraldand finally, a Latin American correspondent for The Herald and McClatchy Newspapers. Bridges excels at it all—long term investigations, insightful features, breaking news and sophisticated analysis. He is an intrepid adventurer and independent thinker with a deep knowledge of many countries in the region and an ability to share that with his readers.
Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Director, “Esta Noche”and Confidencial
Carlos Fernando Chamorro’s personal and professional life has been interwoven with every chapter of Nicaragua’s painful recent history. He is his nation’s leading journalist—a man of conscience and integrity, a defender of his people and an honest story-teller. Nicaraguans look to his television programs and articles for truth and fairness in their highly-politicized atmosphere. For the last decade, both as TV director of Esta Semana and “Esta Noche” and Director of weekly newsletterConfidencial, Chamorro has, in fact, become one of the most independent and courageous journalists in the hemisphere. Carlos Fernando is the son of legendary newspaper editor Pedro Chamorro, whose assassination was a key factor in the fall of Dictator Anastasio Somoza. When the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) took over Nicaragua, a young and zealous Carlos Fernando became the editor of the party’s official newspaper, Barricada. But he eventually broke with the doctrinaire Sandinistas. And since the Sandinistas came back to power four years ago, Carlos Fernando has been a keen watchdog—exposing government cronyism by his former political allies and fraud in 2008 municipal elections. And he is paying a heavy price. President Daniel Ortega’s police ransacked CINCO, a nonprofit journalism organization directed by Chamorro. Then a Venezuelan company backed by Ortega-ally Hugo Chávez bought Channel 8 Telenica, which aired Chamorro’s programs. Carlos Fernando withdrew his programming, stating he did not “want to be a partner or a collaborator of Mr. Ortega, either directly or indirectly, in any of his economic or political business that seeks to help him whitewash his authoritarian image.” Carlos Fernando Chamorro serves as an outstanding example of courage in standing up to abuse by an authoritarian regime.
Norman Gall, Founder and Editor, Braudel Papers
Norman Gall's half a century of reporting, analysis and commentary on the Americas is unparalleled in its breadth, reach and quality. He has crafted his journalism from perches in his native New York to San Juan to Caracas to his adoptive São Paulo, where he has lived since 1977. Gall goes beyond the daily headlines to look at the underlying political, social and economic trends and forces that shape the events that land on the front pages. He was prescient in his writing about the devastation of the Amazon in the 1970s, the vulnerabilities of Mexico’s PRI monolithic regime in the 1980s, and, more recently, the authoritarian nature of Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian project, and the institutional weaknesses revealed in Brazil by a major corruption scandal that shook President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government in 2005. Gall has been published in the most respected and influential newspapers and magazines in the United States, Latin America and Europe. In the last decade, he has successfully bridged the worlds of journalism and scholarship as the founder and creator of the São Paulo-based Fernand Braudel Instituto de Economia Mundial, where he writes and publishes print and on-line, English, Portuguese and Spanish in-depth reports on key issues that are often extensively excerpted or fully reproduced by newspapers in the region.
Joaquim Ibarz, Correspondent and Blogger, La Vanguardia
Joaquim Ibarz has been covering Latin America as the Mexico City-based correspondent for Barcelona’s La Vanguardia newspaper since 1982. He also writes a popular blog, Diario de América Latina, whose keen analysis, in-depth reporting and tough and witty prose has become a must-read for journalists and opinion makers in the region. Producing some of the best-informed and clear-eyed writing of anyone in the hemisphere, Ibarz still approaches his job with the contagious enthusiasm of a cub reporter. Covering the recent Haitian earthquake, he darted through Port-au-Prince’s rubble-filled streets on the back of a motorcycle. Covering a referendum a few years ago in Venezuela, Ibarz roamed the streets of Caracas for hours seeking a lead. He finally found it when he stumbled on a slowly deflating, two-story balloon in the shape of Hugo Chavez in front of the presidential palace. In countries ranging from Peru to Mexico, from Colombia to Cuba, Ibarz has always been the first to ask uncomfortable questions and demand difficult answers of those in power, regardless of political fashion or persuasion. Like few others, Ibarz lives for journalism. His generosity, professionalism, and hard work set an example today for his colleagues.
Signal FM Radio Station, Haiti
The massive earthquake of January 12 silenced virtually all of the TV, newspapers and 50 radio stations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. All but one. Miraculously, private radio station Signal FM’s transmitter kept functioning. An hour after the earth shook, Signal Managing Director Mario Viau and four employees overcame their fears, entered the station’s creaking building and took up their microphones. That first apocalyptic night, and on the days that followed, Signal FM’s staff became a life line for survivors. They conveyed advice and information from rescue workers, aid workers, health experts and engineers—relaying the locations where people needed help rescuing survivors or removing bodies, linking up relatives with missing loved ones, reporting which hospitals were still open and where food would next be distributed. They gave air time to emergency neighborhood committees that popped up all over Port-au-Prince. Broadcasting to the rest of the world over the internet, Signal FM provided a crucial link for the Haitian Diaspora to the unfolding events in Haiti. Many of Signal FM’s employees had also lost relatives, friends and homes, but they overcame fear and grief and pressed on—meeting a great challenge with courage and professional dedication. Signal FM and its staff demonstrated what great journalism looks like.
CNN and Anderson Cooper 360º
Viewers tuned into CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360º on January 12 saw a remarkable demonstration of how a responsible news organization can make a difference. As news of Haiti’s massive earthquake came in, Cooper, his bosses and colleagues knew immediately what their journalistic and humanitarian obligation was. Before the show was over Cooper and a rapidly assembled and well equipped team had left for a night-time flight to the neighboring Dominican Republic, then helicoptered into Haiti early the next morning. For the next several weeks CNN dominated the story—helping people around the world understand and respond to the dimensions of Haiti’s humanitarian needs. Beyond its around the clock coverage, CNN co-presented a telethon that raised $58 million for Haiti relief. While CNN's reporters displayed courage and sensitivity in handling one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times, Anderson Cooper set the tone with the extraordinarily calm, compassionate and professional way he anchored his nightly show. Refusing to be swept up in sensationalism, he and his colleagues presented the story with context and empathy. Amidst all the chaos, Cooper showed great cultural understanding, and respect for the patience and dignity of Haiti's long-suffering populations.
About the Maria Moors Cabot Prize
Founded in 1938 by the late Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston as a memorial to his wife, the Maria Moors Cabot Prize is the oldest international award in journalism. Since its inception, 257 Cabot Prizes and 53 special citations have been awarded to journalists from more than 30 countries in the Americas. The prizes are administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism under the guidance of Josh Friedman, director of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes and Lisa Sara Redd, program manager of professional prizes.
The recommendations are made with the advice and approval of the Cabot Prize Board. Members of the committee in 2010 are: Arlene Morgan, Associate Dean for Prizes and Programs and chair; Josh Friedman, director of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, and David C. Adams, Editor of Poder; José de Córdoba, Senior Special writer for The Wall Street Journal; John H. Coatsworth, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Michèle Montas, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Haiti; María Teresa Ronderos, Director, Semana.com;Edward Schumacher-Matos, Director, Harvard Migration & Integration Studies Program; Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and Enrique Zileri, Director, Caretas magazine; Ramón Alberto Garza, Founder and CEO of IndigoMedia. Six of the eleven members of the Cabot Prize Board are Cabot medalists.
About the Graduate School of Journalism
For almost a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists in a program that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry, and professional practice. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1912, the school offers Master of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. To learn more, visit www.jrn.columbia.edu.
About Columbia University
A leading academic and research university, Columbia continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia’s extensive public service initiatives, cultural collaborations and community partnerships enrich campus life. They help define the University’s underlying values and mission to educate students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.