Tune in to our new radio program on science, health & the environment reported by indigenous journalists for Mexico’s indigenous communities

Tune in to our new radio program on science, health & the environment reported by indigenous journalists for Mexico’s indigenous communities

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of En Común: conocimiento en voz viva, our new radio program on science, health and environment for Mexico’s indigenous communities. During our first season of En Común, we have partnered with indigenous journalists throughout Mexico who are reporting 9 of the 15 episodes.  You can hear all the episodes on our website: encomun.mx.

This is a first for Mexico – a radio program focused on science and reported primarily by indigenous journalists for indigenous communities and rural audiences.

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 writers.
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.

Iván Carrillo, a prominent Mexico-based science writer and editor, is the executive producer of the project.  He is joined by an experienced production team based in Mexico.

During our first season of En Común, we’ve taken on fascinating and little-reported science, health and environmental subjects.  For example:

In our episode titled, Los murciélagos y su relación con los virus, Mayan journalist Irma Yolanda Kauil Tuz interviews Dr. Rodrigo Medellín Legorreta, a researcher in the Institute of Ecology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), about the beneficial role that bats play in the ecological balance and myths about bats as carriers of disease.

In Las vacunas, prioridad mundial, indigenous journalist Yolotzin Hernández interviews residents in Amecameca in the State of Mexico about their views on vaccines and continues with an interview with Dr. Ricardo Martín Castro, of the Institute of Biotechnology at UNAM.

In the episode titled, Arqueoastronomía y las culturas Mesoamericanos, journalist Dora Cauich greets the audience in Maya and asks Mayan residents of Quintana Roo about their views on their ancestral legacy of astronomy and how they use it today.  As part of her report, Dora interviews archeologist Ivan Sprajc, a specialist in Mayan astronomy who has spent decades researching the Mayan culture and its relationship with the stars and the sky.

 Entendiendo el virus SARS Cov2 features Oaxacan journalist Genaro Bautista Gabriel with the Agencia Internacional de Prensa Indígena, interviews Dr. Ana Lorena Gutiérrez of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) at Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute. 

In our episode titled, Cómo Enfrentan las Comunidades Indígenas la Pandemia, we hear the voices and viewpoints of residents on Oxchuc, Chiapas. 

InquireFirst has forged an alliance the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and its Mexico affiliate, Red de Radios Comunitarias de México to broadcast our program across Mexico.

In addition, the Instituto Mexicano de la Radio (IMER) will be broadcasting the program on its affiliates in Sonora, Coahuila, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatán and Mexico City. 

Tune in to our first season of En Común: conocimiento en voz viva at encomun.mx!

InquireFirst announces editor and panel of judges for Bajo la Lupa investigative journalism grants

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

Ginger Thompson, chief of correspondents 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

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

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 Gutierrez Valdizan

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 awards reporting grant to Central American team for regional health project

InquireFirst awards reporting grant to Central American team for regional health project

Marcela Cantero
Marcela Cantero
Beatriz Benítez
Beatriz Benítez
Evelyn Boche
Moisés Martínez

InquireFirst is pleased to announce that a team of Central American journalists has been awarded our second reporting grant for a regional health project which they will produce as part of our 2020 initiative to encourage cross-border reporting on science, health and the environment by Latin American journalists.

A partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Department of Science Education, our Historias Sin Fronteras project was launched in February and will continue throughout the year with the awarding of four grants to teams of Latin American journalists for cross-border reporting projects.

The Central American team is led by Marcela Cantero, a science and health journalist with more than 20 years’ reporting experience. For 16 years, Cantero reported for La Nación, covering international conferences on cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. She is now a contributor to La Voz de Guanacaste, the first nonprofit, bilingual newspaper in Costa Rica.

Joining Cantero on the team are:

  • Moisés Martínez, an award-winning investigative journalist and political editor at La Prensa in Nicaragua.
  • Beatriz Benítez, political news coordinator at the online magazine GatoEncerrado.news in El Salvador. Before joining GatoEncerrado, Benítez worked in the Political section of Diario El Mundo and later worked at La Prensa Gráfica.
  • Evelyn Boche, journalist for the Guatemalan newspaper elPeriódico, with 10 years of experience in investigative reporting. Before joining elPeriódico, Evelyn worked at the daily newspaper Siglo Veintiuno and ContraPoder magazine. In 2011, she did a professional internship in Madrid as part of the Balboa Program for Young Ibero-Americans.

In response to this initiative, we received numerous regional health project proposals. Our international panel of judges said that each of the proposals demonstrated the experience and creativity of the Latin American journalists who participated.

The judges singled out the proposal by the Central American team, calling it “an ambitious, multi-platform reporting project.”

“The proposal is timely and embodies the idea of a cross-border journalism effort,” the judges said. “The team is made up of great, diverse reporters who bring their skills together to do the job.”

The project, which focuses on the regional health challenges posed by Covid-19, will be published in late July.

Iván Carrillo, editor-in-chief of Tec Review magazine in Mexico, will serve as project editor.  Carrillo is part of the 2016-2017 generation of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. He is a contributor to National Geographic and the Latin American editions of Newsweek and has collaborated with the Discovery Channel and CNN en Español.

InquireFirst will be issuing two additional calls for proposals this year: In July, the editorial focus will be the conservation of water and/or the ocean, and in September the project will focus on nutrition, biotechnology and/or food production.

By launching this regional initiative, InquireFirst and HHMI’s Department of Science Education aim to convene, inspire and encourage the work of science writers in Latin America. Across Latin America, science journalism plays a vital role in providing rigorous and current information to increasingly diverse audiences. Through our support of collaborative projects, we hope to strengthen the network of experienced Latin American science writers by providing them with reporting resources and new outlets where they can publish their outstanding work.


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