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CU Announces 2004 Cabot Prizes for Reporting on Latin America

Columbia University announced today the winners of the 2004 Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting on Latin America. Now in its 66 th year and the oldest international award in journalism, the Cabot Prize honors reporters and editors who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have demonstrated commitment to freedom of the press and inter-American understanding.

The recipients are: Gerardo Reyes, investigative reporter, El Nuevo Herald (Miami, Fla.), for advancing the practice and method of investigative journalism through his pioneering work in both U.S. and Latin-American media; Clarín (Argentina) investigative reporter Daniel Santoro, who has spent his 25-year career as a journalist fighting against corruption and abuse of power and for higher standards of journalism; Elena Poniatowska, author and columnist, La Jornada (Mexico), for her courageous, independent reporting over the past 51 years that has provided a voice for Mexico's forgotten people; and Joel Millman, TheWall Street Journal U.S.-Mexico border bureau chief, whose reporting has deciphered for many the complexities of Latin American politics, economics, society and the environment.

This year, a Special Citation also will be awarded to Alberto Ibargüen, publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, for his leadership in the campaign to end impunity for those who seek to silence the media in Latin America .

"The Cabot Prizes offer the Graduate School of Journalism an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the highest standards of journalism in Latin America," said Nicholas Lemann , dean of the Journalism School . "Through their courage and commitment, this year's Cabot awardees exemplify those standards. We are proud to salute them."

Columbia University's president, Lee C. Bollinger, will present the prizes at a dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m. , Oct. 5, in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library. Each winner will receive a Cabot gold medal and a $5,000 honorarium. Over the past 66 years, 241 prizes and 54 special citations have been conferred on journalists from more than 30 countries.

Detailed information about the winners follows.

Gerardo Reyes

Gerardo Reyes, investigative reporter for El Nuevo Herald in Miami, has advanced the practice and method of investigative journalism through his pioneering work in both U.S. and Latin-American media. As a member of the El Tiempo (Bogotá) newspaper's groundbreaking investigative unit, one of the first such teams in the hemisphere, and later with TheMiami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, Reyes produced a stream of landmark reports on topics ranging from medical malpractice, to election fraud and drug and arms trafficking. Reyes published the first systematic guide in Spanish to the practice and methods of investigative journalism. He co-founded Investigative Reporters and Editors, Mexico, and through this organization, has promoted cross-national investigative collaborations among journalists.

Daniel Santoro

Daniel Santoro, investigative reporter for Clarín ( Argentina ), has been fighting against corruption and abuse of power and for higher standards of journalism in Argentina for the past 25 years. At Clarín, Santoro exposed significant acts of corruption by the Argentine government such as secret sales of arms to Croatia and Ecuador, and a secret plan with Saddam Hussein's Iraq to develop the Condor missile. Santoro was also responsible for an ongoing exposé of extensive financial corruption during Argentine President Carlos Menem's administration. A role model for many Latin American journalists, Santoro throughout his career has been both a teacher and mentor for young investigative journalists. Recently, he founded the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA), an association of journalists working to elevate ethical and professional standards of journalism in Argentina.

Elena Poniatowska

Elena Poniatowska , journalist and author, is a columnist for La Jornada ( Mexico ), a newspaper she helped found in 1984. A journalist in Mexico for 51 years, she worked most of those years under government restrictions on access to information, and in an atmosphere where many of her colleagues exercised self-censorship. Throughout her career, she has given vision to Mexico's forgotten people: the working poor; the country's neglected indigenous people; the hundreds of women of Ciudad Juarez who have been victims not only of homicide but of the government's failure to investigate and prevent further murders. She has long exercised courageous, independent reporting, for which she has received death threats. In addition to her work as a journalist, Poniatowska is an accomplished author. Her latest work, La Piel del Cielo, won Spain's Alfaguara prize for literature in 2001. But she is perhaps best known for her book La Noche de Tlatelolco (1971), still in print, in which she compiled testimonies about the Army's massacre of student activists in Mexico City in 1968. Now, three and a half decades later, a government investigation of the Tlatelolco massacre is finally under way, making it a particularly timely moment to recognize Poniatowska's career.

Joel Millman

Joel Millman, U.S.-Mexico border bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, has significantly contributed to international understanding of Latin America. In the 1980s, he broke two of the most important investigative stories published about U.S. policy in Central America . His work on drug pilot Adler "Barry" Seal for the Village Voice and Mother Jones magazine in 1986 was prescient in tying covert U.S. activity to the world of drug trafficking. His 1989 award-winning exposé for The New York Times Magazine about corruption in El Salvador's military helped break a deadlock in peace negotiations that eventually led to the end of a 20-year civil war. As a reporter/editor for Forbes magazine in the early 1990s, Millman led the financial press in covering the sweeping economic changes that unfolded in the hemisphere at the dawn of the post-Cold War "global" age. His profiles of dozens of Latin American fortunes in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil created a road map used by other financial journalists in the region. At The Wall Street Journal since 1996, Millman has set the industry standard for covering social, political and economic integration within the Americas . Additionally, his book, The Other Americans (1997), portrays the positive impact of immigrants from Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica and Brazil on the United States.

Alberto Ibargüen

Alberto Ibargüen, publisher of TheMiami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, has combined his training in law with a deep commitment to freedom of the press to spearhead the Inter American Press Association's impunity initiative. The campaign seeks to end impunity for those who would silence the media in Latin America through intimidation and the murder of journalists. This campaign has led to the reopening of long-shelved cases and to the punishment of some of the most egregious perpetrators.

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Published: June 17, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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