James Nelson Goodsell, a journalist who covered Latin America for many years for The Christian Science Monitor and was director of Columbia's Maria Moors Cabot Prizes since 1993, died Feb. 1 at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 66 and had been ill for several weeks.
A long-time resident of Boston, Goodsell moved to Florida in 1994 after appointment to the Knight Chair in Journalism in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, where he taught courses in Latin American journalism and international reporting and headed the school's Latin American Journalism Fellowship program. He continued to direct international journalism's oldest awards, the Cabot Prizes, which are administered by Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and recognize contributions to the advancement of press freedom and inter-American understanding. He himself received a Cabot Medal in 1967.
Pamela Constable, a reporter for The Washington Post and a member of the Maria Moors Cabot Advisory Board, said: "Jim was a guiding light for many of us who began covering Latin America in the 1980's. He knew the region inside out, he was very committed to it as a journalist, and he was always happy to share his knowledge and experience."
James Nelson Goodsell was born June 7, 1929, in Evanston, Ill., and began his journalism career on The Chicago Sun in 1945. He joined the New York Herald Tribune in 1953 as its Central American correspondent. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955, he was a reporter for The Cincinnati Post for a year before joining The Christian Science Monitor in 1956. He worked for The Monitor for 35 years and was its Latin American correspondent from 1964 to 1985. In 1984 he was chief correspondent and editorial adviser to WGBH-TV in Boston for a Peabody Award-winning "Frontline" series on Central America and the Caribbean.
A graduate of Principia College, he received a master's degree from Mexico City College and a doctorate in history from Harvard. He is survived by his wife, Rhoda M. Ford; two daughters, Amy Beck of Wrentham, Mass., and Victoria Goodsell of Richmond, Va.; a son, Paul Goodsell, of Centreville, Va., and four grandchildren.
Columbia University Record -- February 9, 1996 -- Vol. 21, No. 16