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Journalism School Announces Cabot Prize Winners
Maria Moors Cabot Prize honors outstanding reporting
on Latin America and the Caribbean

This year's Cabot Prizes go to a reporter who was kicked out of Cuba by the Castro regime, one who covers drug-related crime and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and two journalists who report from South America.

Gary Marx
Gary Marx

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced the four winners July 10. They include Gary Marx, foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune; Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News; Maria Teresa Ronderos, editorial advisor at Semana Magazine of Colombia; and José Vales, Latin American correspondent for El Universal of Mexico.

“This year, we had an especially lively and competitive field of nominees for the Cabot Prize,” said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School. “This is welcome and wonderful news for the Americas, a region which desperately needs the kind of professional, courageous, and enterprising journalism exemplified by our 2007 winners.”

Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger will present the prizes at a dinner and ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 9, on Columbia’s Morningside campus. Each prize winner will receive a medal and a $5,000 honorarium. News organizations that employ the winners will receive bronze plaques.

Alfredo Corchado
Alfredo Corchado

Gary Marx has been one of a small group of U.S. reporters working out of permanent bureaus the Cuban government allowed to be established there in the late 1990s.

In February, after five years reporting from Havana, the Cuban government told Marx his press credentials would not be renewed and he must leave the island. Their reason: His stories were too “negative.”

But in the view of the Cabot Prize Board, Marx’s reporting was devoid of the ideological side-taking that often taints journalistic stories about Cuba. He was just telling the story of Cuba to his readers—the good and the bad—and telling it honestly and skillfully.

Alfredo Corchado covers a deadly beat that scares off most other journalists—drug-related crime and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, now considered one of the world’s most dangerous places to practice journalism.

Maria Teresa Ronderos
Maria Teresa Ronderos

In this savage climate, Corchado has refused to back down, instead continuing to produce exclusive stories about drug dealers, police and government corruption, the epidemic disappearance of women, and the spread of organized crime among Mexican drug cartels into Dallas and Houston.

Maria Teresa Ronderos is an exemplar of the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and dogged reporting in another of the world’s most dangerous countries to practice journalism.

Reporter, editor, teacher, and defender of press freedom, Ronderos has been a mentor to many young journalists in Colombia and a key player in fighting to restore peace and civil society to the country, which has been ravaged by drug-related violence.

Josť Vales
Josť Vales

Josť Vales provides readers in the Americas with a steady diet of stories about important Latin American issues and scoops about corruption and human rights abuses from his post in Buenos Aires.

In 2000, Vales’ relentless investigative reporting led to the revelation that a notorious torturer during Argentina’s dirty war was hiding in plain sight in Mexico, leading to arrest and extradition to Spain in 2003.

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, 252 Cabot Prizes and 56 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 international programs at the school.

Published: July 11, 2007
Last modified: Jul 19, 2007