InquireFirst announces editor and panel of judges for Bajo la Lupa investigative journalism grants
InquireFirst is pleased to introduce the distinguished panel of judges who will be reviewing this year’s submissions to our Bajo la Lupa grants program for Latin American investigative journalists along with the editor who will work with journalists on the projects.
Our Bajo la Lupa Program will award two grants this year to teams of up to four journalists to conduct systematic, deep and original investigations on corruption and abuses of power with the aim of promoting transparency and the rule of law in Latin America.
The long-term effect of our journalism programs at InquireFirst is to build a close collaboration with journalists in Latin America with the conviction that through collaborative cross-border work we can strengthen journalism and give citizens the information they need to make better decisions.
Our first call for proposals will be issued in August 2020, with a submission deadline of August 24. The judges will announce their decision in September.
Our judges are:
- Ginger Thompson, a senior reporter at ProPublica. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Ginger previously spent 15 years at The New York Times as the Mexico City bureau chief and as an investigative reporter. Her work has exposed the consequences of Washington’s policies in Latin America, particularly policies involving immigration, political upheaval and the fight against drug cartels.
Her work has won the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting, an InterAmerican Press Association Award, and an Overseas Press Club Award. She was part of a team of national reporters at The Times that was awarded a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for the series “How Race is Lived in America.” She was also part of a team of reporters at ProPublica whose coverage of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy won numerous other awards, including a Polk Award, a Peabody Award, a Tobenkin Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
- Ronny Rojas, a Costa Rican journalist and adjunct professor at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at City University of New York (CUNY) as well as a collaborator with the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP). Previously, Ronny was head of the Data Unit of Univision Noticias Digital in Miami and in 2018-19 he was a Fellow of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship Program at Stanford University.
His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Emmy for best story in Spanish (2018), the Ortega y Gasset Award (2017), the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Global Shining Light Award (2015) that was awarded by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN). He was also part of the team that won the 2019 Gabo Award for the documentary “America First: The legacy of a migratory raid.”
- Luis Trelles, senior editor with Latino USA, a radio show and podcast of National Public Radio (NPR). Based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Luis was previously an editor and producer with the Spanish-language narrative journalism podcast Radio Ambulante, where he reported on and told stories from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, among other places.
In 2018, Luis was selected as a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has also been a professor in the Bilingual Program of the Craig Newmark Journalism School at City University of New York (CUNY).
Alejandra Gutiérrez Valdizán, the co-founder and publisher of Agencia Ocote, will serve as the project editor.
Alejandra is a prominent reporter and editor with experience in written, audiovisual and digital journalism. She has focused her career on in-depth and narrative journalism, specializing in issues of human rights, transitional justice, the environment, and security and violence.
Alejandra has been a journalist and editorial coordinator at estePaís and at La Revista Diario de Centro América. For five years, until February 2017, she was editor and editorial director of the Guatemalan digital media Plaza Pública.
Her work, individually or as a team, has been a finalist for the Daniel Pearl Awards (2013), the Gabriel García Márquez Prize of the FNPI (2014), and the Inter-American Press Society (2013/2014). She has also been a university professor, teaching investigative journalism courses and instructing workshops and trainings on communication, journalism and editorial and digital media management.
InquireFirst’s Bajo la Lupa Project was founded through a generous contribution by Anthony S. Da Vigo, a California attorney who is committed to improving the lives of Latin Americans.
He has been recognized for providing pro bono legal services for the Refugee Asylum Panel of Sacramento County, and for accepting, investigating and winning the case of an El Salvadoran applicant marked for assassination by death squads.
Most recently, he funded the completion a water project in Nicaragua, providing well water distribution to a church, a school, and 65 homes.
InquireFirst launches science podcast for Mexico’s rural communities
Mexico’s indigenous people form a multicultural mosaic of diverse ethnic identities, ancestral knowledge and cultural values, but their communities and their unique stories have been overlooked by traditional media organizations and particularly by science, health and environment reporters.
As a result, Mexico’s indigenous people – an estimated 15.7 million in 68 communities across the country – do not have access to carefully curated and reported information that could help them combat inequality, disease, pollution and ecological damage caused by the misuse of natural resources. Nor do they have the opportunity to share their generations-old knowledge on issues such as wildlife protection, the impact of illegal logging and the role of medicinal plants in disease prevention.
We are pleased to announce that InquireFirst has forged an alliance with the Red de Radios Comunitarias de México, a radio network that reaches indigenous communities in 18 states in Mexico, to bring science-based news to the country’s rural and indigenous communities.
Iván Carrillo, a prominent science writer and editor, is the executive producer of the project. He is joined by an experienced production team based in Mexico. Our reporters are journalists working not only in Mexico’s major cities but they are also indigenous journalists working in rural communities across the country.
We’ll be launching our 15-episode podcast, En común: Conocimiento en Voz Viva, in August 2020.
Stay tuned for our first episode!
Carolina Bravo Gómez, who reports on environmental issues at the television network Noticias Caracol in Bogota, Colombia, told us that InquireFirst’s February 2020 Environmental Investigative Journalism Workshop in Mérida, México provided the information she needed to produce an in-depth report on efforts in indigenous communities to protect the mangrove ecosystem that provides a habitat to hundreds of species of birds and animals. Noticias Caracol broadcast Carolina’s story on July 26, UNESCO’s International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. She conducted interviews for her story during our InquireFirst field visit to Celestún.
Watch Carolina’s report
Saúl Martínez, a reporter and photographer at El Imparcial in Mexicali, Baja California says the contacts he made during InquireFirst’s February 2020 Environmental Investigative Journalism Workshop in Mérida, México have helped him expand his regional science and environmental network as he works on in-depth projects on the urgent issues of science, health and the environment. Based on a field visit to Celestún during our InquireFirst workshop, Saúl published a story on July 26, UNESCO’s International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.
Read Saúl’s story
Science and Health Symposium
This seminar will focus on urgent health issues in Latin America such as Covid-19, cancer and diabetes. Some 40 journalists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico will attend the high-level virtual seminar which will offer scientific and practical journalism sessions for science writers whose thorough, accurate coverage of health issues is vital to the well-being of people in their countries.
California State University Fullerton
Investigative Journalism and Government Accountability
Top U.S. journalists will join InquireFirst as speakers at this workshop, which will offer sessions on fact-checking, in-depth investigative reporting and cyber security.
The workshop will equip a team of Latin American journalists with investigative skills to produce deeply reported and carefully fact-checked investigative reports that lead to greater transparency in their countries. The workshop also built professional alliances that encourage journalists to conduct cross-border reporting on high-impact regional investigative stories.