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Columbia Announces 2002 Cabot Prize Winners for Reporting on Latin America

A foreign correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times, the editor of the San Antonio Express-News, an investigative reporter from Argentina and a radio journalist from Haiti have been selected by Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism to receive the 2002 Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting on Latin America.

This year's winners are:

David Adams, Latin America correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times who has reported on political unrest in Venezuela and the growing U.S. involvement in Colombia's fight against drug trafficking;

Sergio Luis Carreras, a reporter for the Cordoba (Argentina) daily La Voz del Interior, whose reporting exposed a Bolivian mafia and a black market in passports on the Argentine-Bolivian border;

Michele Montas-Dominique, news director of Radio Haiti, whose wide-ranging reporting on toxic waste, women's banks and the justice system has been instrumental in keeping free speech alive in Haiti, and

Robert Rivard, editor and senior vice president of the San Antonio Express-News, who has broadened the paper's coverage of Latin America and is known for his reporting on the Salvadoran death squads in the early 1980s and his challenge of the Mexican judicial system when his Mexico City bureau chief was killed.

The Cabot awards are presented to reporters and editors who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their coverage, demonstrated commitment to freedom of the press and inter-American understanding.

Founded in 1938 and first awarded in 1939 by the late Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston as a memorial to his wife, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes are administered by the Graduate School of Journalism.

"In recent years, globalization and the growing links among the world's economies have highlighted the need for news that is international in scope," said Tom Goldstein, dean of the Journalism School. "The catastrophic events of September 11th and their repercussions worldwide have only reaffirmed the importance of informed and intelligent reporting on international affairs. I am pleased to say that the School of Journalism continues to be committed to training practitioners from around the world who understand that even the most local of events is international in nature."

Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger will present the prizes at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, October 10, in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library. For the fourth consecutive year, the award ceremony will be held as a benefit to raise scholarship funds for international students, especially students from Latin America.

Each winner will receive a Cabot gold medal and an honorarium. With this year's awards, 233 prizes and 52 special citations will have been conferred on journalists from more than 30 countries.

The prizes, the oldest international awards in journalism, are awarded by the Trustees of Columbia on the recommendation of the dean of the Journalism School. An advisory committee of journalists and educators concerned with inter-American affairs assists the dean. Nominations are also sought from news organizations and individuals throughout Latin and North America.

The director of the prizes is Anne Nelson, who also directs international programs at the Journalism School and is the former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Detailed information on the 2002 winners follows:

David Adams
Photo Courtesy of St. Petersburg Times

David Adams

Latin America correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times, David Adams has reported from Latin America for the past 15 years. First as a freelance correspondent covering Central America, and for the past eight years as a roving staff correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times, Adams has shown an extraordinary understanding of the region's cultural and political complexities. From coverage of the Central American peace process to the U.S. invasion of Panama, Adams has consistently provided fresh, original reporting on some of the most important issues and challenges facing Latin America. He has an excellent eye for detail and is as skilled at feature stories describing the region's idiosyncrasies as he is at aggressively reporting breaking news. This talent was evident in the recent work he produced about the growing U.S. involvement in Colombia's fight against drug trafficking and Venezuela's political unrest earlier this year.

Sergio Luis Carreras
Photo by Ramiro Pereyra

Sergio Luis Carreras

A reporter for La Voz del Interior, Sergio Luis Carreras has widened the frontiers of provincial journalism in the more than 10 years that he has spent at this Argentine newspaper. His investigative reporting on official corruption in Cordoba revealed a system of nepotism and bribery that was destroying the province. Carreras has moved into new and dangerous territory to report on drug trafficking and organized crime on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. He has revealed a black market in passports and identification documents on the border of Argentina and Bolivia and has exposed a mafia working in Bolivia, prompting the purging of corrupt police officials. Carreras also lifted the veil from the fiefdom established by Carlos Juarez, the long-time caudillo (political strongman) of the Argentine province of Santiago del Estero.

Michele Montas-Dominique

Michele Montas-Dominique

News director of Radio Haiti, Michele Montas-Dominique has been instrumental in keeping alive the flame of free speech during a difficult time in Haiti's history. She is making a seminal contribution to establishing a tradition of professional journalism in a country where violence, politics and poverty have impeded its growth. Montas-Dominique has produced an impressive body of work of unusual quality for radio journalism, longer pieces with high-quality reporting and production values. The subjects she has covered are wide-ranging. In one story, she describes the experience of Ermita Jean, a poor market woman who is caught up in a legal system where questions are asked in French while she only understands Creole. Montas-Dominique produced a five-part examination of South Africa's experience with truth and reconciliation issues by following a delegation of Haitian lawmakers to South Africa. Her reports on toxic waste, women's banks and the justice system are timely and significant.

Montas-Dominique, a 1969 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has also taken on the Sisyphean task of trying to gain a fair trial in the case of her murdered husband, Jean Dominique, who was gunned down in front of their radio station on April 3, 2000. Dominique was a crusading journalist who fearlessly challenged the power structure in Haiti, and Montas-Dominique has bravely carried on his tradition.

Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard

Editor and senior vice president of the San Antonio Express-News, Robert Rivard has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to justice and high journalistic standards in the Americas throughout his career, from his penetrating reporting on the Salvadoran death squads in the early 1980s to his outstanding leadership of the San Antonio Express-News. He reported extensively on the civil wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala for newspapers and magazines. As editor of the Express-News, he has significantly broadened coverage of Latin America, with an emphasis on the insidious problem of drug trafficking, the progress of democracy and the growth of free enterprise. When his newspaper's Mexico City bureau chief, Philip True, was killed, Rivard led a highly visible challenge to the Mexican judicial system. He personally was instrumental in finding True's remains and has relentlessly sought to bring his killers to justice.

The recommendations for the winners are made with the advice and approval of the Advisory Committee on the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes. Members of the committee are: Tom Goldstein; Anne Nelson; Rosental Calmon Alves, professor and Knight Chair in International Journalism at the University of Texas in Austin and former executive editor of the Jornal do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro; Peter Cleaves, member of the international Council of AVINA, a foundation that supports sustainable development in Latin America, and former director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin; Robert Cox, assistant editor of the Post & Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald and president of the Inter American Press Association; John Dinges, assistant professor at the Journalism School and former editorial director of National Public Radio; Juan Enriquez-Cabot, great-grandson of Maria Moors Cabot, who is a currently director of the Life Science Project at the Harvard Business School; Claude Erbsen, vice president and director of World Services for The Associated Press; Linda Robinson, senior writer at U.S. News & World Report; Edward Seaton, editor in chief of The Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, former chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board and past president of the Inter American Press Association, and Geri Smith, Mexico bureau chief for BusinessWeek. Five of the 11 members of the Cabot Prize Board have won the Cabot medal.

Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism was founded in 1912 and offers programs leading to a master's of science and a Ph.D. in journalism. The School also runs the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program in Economics and Business Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program for working journalists. The School of Journalism administers some of the most prestigious prizes in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prizes, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in television and radio journalism, the National Magazine Awards, the Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Online Journalism Awards.

Published: Jul 01, 2002
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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