New opportunities for Latin American reporters and editors announced during Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop


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New opportunities for Latin American reporters and editors announced during Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop

Science journalists from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru attended the 2018 Latin America edition of the Jack. F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop at Stanford University. Photo courtesy of El Universal/ Germán Espinosa

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Latin American science journalists were presented with a host of new professional development opportunities during the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop at Stanford University.

The June 17-21, 2018 workshop, organized by InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz, focused on training opportunities – with Latin American science journalists as both participants and instructors – as well as steps to form a regional science journalism network.

Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, owner and publisher of the Mexico City daily newspaper El Universal, announced that he is establishing a multi-platform “high-impact” science section with “the highest standards for content and selection of infographics.”

The El Universal science section will be led by journalist Iván Carrillo, who anchors Los Observadores, a science program on Mexican television network TV Azteca, as well as writing for National Geographic América Latina and Newsweek en Español.

Ealy Ortiz also announced that he is forming an Institute for Science Journalism and International Training which will be headed by Enrique Bustamante, who also serves as director of Fundación Ealy Ortiz. The Institute will offer training to science journalists, researchers, scientists and science communicators, he said.

“An informed society is a society with a future,” Ealy Ortiz told an audience of science journalists, Stanford University professors and researchers, government officials and business leaders. “We must learn to correctly communicate discoveries, the alerts and measures that our population must take regarding the environment, human health and issues related to technological advances.”

Ealy Ortiz said he will be providing travel fellowships for Latin American and Caribbean science journalists to attend the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

(Journalists can find more information about WCSJ2019 at this website: https://bit.ly/2N4JPiP)

Rosalind Reid, executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writers, also announced fellowship opportunities that will support the participation by Latin American and Caribbean journalists in ScienceWriters 2018, a regional forum for science journalists organized by the National Association of Science Writers that will be held Oct. 12-16, 2018, in Washington D.C.

Iván Carrillo, anchor of TV Azteca's Los Observadores science program, was named editor of a multi-platform, high-impact section to be launched in upcoming months by Mexico's largest newspaper, El Universal. Photo courtesy of El Universal/ Germán Espinosa

The deadline to apply is July 17. Latin American and Caribbean journalists can find information about the travel fellowship at this website: https://bit.ly/2lHmR4x

Reid conducted a discussion during the Ealy Science Journalism workshop with Latin American reporters and editors on ways that U.S. and international organizations can support the growing cadre of science journalists in the region.

Among the measures suggested by Latin American journalists were:

  • Workshops that offer environmental investigative journalism training
  • Workshops specificially designed for science journalists who report for television audiences
  • Workshop sessions on effective ways to pitch editors on science, health and environment stories
  • A workshop on how to report on breaking environmental/health stories such as a global outbreak of an epidemic
  • Cross-border reporting initiatives to share resources and increase the impact of science, health and environment stories and
  • A website that gives higher visibility to science journalists by publishing and promoting the best Spanish-language reports in Latin America and the Caribbean

Dawn E. Garcia, director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships (JSK) at Stanford University, urged Latin American science journalists to apply for the prestigious fellowship which provides a stipend to journalists to work on projects while they study at Stanford for the 10-month academic year.

Garcia noted that at least one of the 20 annual fellowships is designated for a Latin American journalist. Yet few journalists from Mexico or other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America apply for a Knight fellowship. The majority of the Latin American applicants are from Brazil, she said.

Journalists can learn more about the Knight Fellowships at on the JSK website:

https://stanford.io/2KsXn62

Science Journalism enters a ‘Golden Age’


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Science Journalism enters a ‘Golden Age’

Thomas Hayden, professor of science and environmental communication and journalism at Stanford University, said collaboration is key to strengthening science journalism. Photo by El Universal/Germán Espinosa

PALO ALTO, Calif. – As traditional journalism struggles with challenges posed by instant and sometimes inaccurate reporting via the internet, science journalism has entered a “Golden Age,” said Thomas Hayden, Stanford University professor of science and environmental communication and journalism, during the opening session of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop.

“With the rise of online science journalism, the old feelings of comfort and caution are gone,” Hayden said. “There’s a hunger there and that desperation has helped build a community in science journalism.”

In sharp contrast to traditional science reporting which often focused on the scientific “paper of the week,” today’s science journalism is explanation-driven, Hayden said.

“There were real restrictions and real problems with the old way of science journalism,” Hayden said. “Now, something remarkable has happened. The field as a whole has become much more serious. Science journalists are increasingly acting as investigative journalists. Today, as a result, we find ourselves in an unexpected but most robust development.”

Lynne Friedmann, editor of ScienceWriters magazine and member of the InquireFirst Advisory Council, outlined three essential elements for science writing: creativity, risk and sacrifice. Photo courtesy of El Universal/Germán Espinosa

Hayden made his remarks during the July 17-21, 2018, workshop organized by InquireFirst and Fundacion Ealy Ortiz at Stanford University and in San Francisco.

In today’s media environment, much of the science journalism in the U.S. and Latin America is taking place at nonprofit organizations, “all of which are extremely high quality and adventuresome.”

“The health of the field of journalism has never been better,” Hayden said. “But the health of individual journalism organizations is tenuous. We have great quality contrasted against the precarious nature of the industry.”

Science journalism programs at universities such as Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, can be part of the solution, Hayden said.

“We have to throw the doors to journalism wide open – to all cultures, to all backgrounds, to all genders, to all races,” he said. “Journalism at its heart is democracy in action. It’s one of the ways that citizens can actually make a difference in their country.

Science journalists also have to collaborate.

“We can’t invent the future of journalism on our own,” Hayden said. “It takes a lot of partnerships to find our way home to a strong science journalism future.”

Andrew Revkin, strategic adviser for science and environmental journalism at The National Geographic Society, called for more collaboration among the region’s science journalists and among organizations such as InquireFirst, International Journalist’s Network and EarthJournalism.net that support science journalism.

During the final day of the workshop held at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, Lynne Friedmann, editor of ScienceWriters magazine, encouraged science writers to be persistent in reporting thorough, in-depth stories.

Friedmann outlined three essential elements for science writing: creativity, risk and sacrifice.

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Science Journalism enters a ‘Golden Age’


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Making a difference Zika workshop focuses on international collaboration

Journalists from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean made a field visit to La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica during a regional workshop organized by InquireFirst. Photo by José Diaz/Agencia Ojo por Ojo

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Science and health journalism should not be limited by international borders. Complex new health threats such as Zika virus that occur in a “noisy” media environment require a new model of reporting, Andrew Revkin, strategic adviser on science and environmental journalism for The National Geographic Society, told reporters and editors at a regional science journalism workshop organized by InquireFirst in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica.

Revkin was one of several prominent science and environment editors from major U.S. media organizations who traveled to Costa Rica for a March 4-8, 2018, workshop to help journalists hone their science and health reporting skills on public health coverage such as Zika and vector-borne diseases.

Also joining InquireFirst at the Costa Rica workshop were Gary Stix, senior editor of Scientific American and Manuel Canales, senior graphics editor at National Geographic, who provided the journalists with new techniques for reaching people with crucial public health information.

As public health risks cross borders, Revkin said journalists need to conduct transnational reporting to keep their audiences informed. He encouraged journalists to “be courageous about avoiding overstatement, and to test assumptions – even your own.”

Revkin also underscored the effectiveness of starting and sustaining a conversation with the public and health experts. By building communication channels with the public on social media and radio call-in shows before a public crisis such as Zika occurs, journalists can more effectively communicate critical information about an outbreak, he said.

The regional workshop titled “Informing About Risks and Prevention of an Epidemic” was attended by 37 science and health journalists from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

These journalists report on the most urgent science and health issues in their countries for national media organizations, including national television networks, national radio stations and the largest daily newspapers in the country. They were awarded scholarships based on their experience in the areas of science and health coverage, and also on their decision-making role in their news organization and/or their leadership in founding their own science journalism news organizations.

Journalists attended the workshop from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

To ensure that journalists from these countries, all of which face a serious health risk posed by Zika and other vector-borne diseases, had the opportunity to attend the workshop, InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker turned to her region-wide network to invite science journalists to attend.

Among the journalists invited were: the news editor of La Prensa, a national newspaper in Managua, Nicaragua; the founder of an online science/environmental news site in Guatemala who has attended three biennial meetings of the World Conference of Science Journalists in the UK, Qatar and Finland; the founder of an online science news site in San Salvador; the news director of a regional radio station in Estelí, Nicaragua; a science/environment reporter for Prensa Libre, the largest daily newspaper in Guatemala; a science/health reporter for the daily newspaper El Nuevo Diario in Nicaragua; the managing editor of El Sol de Hermosillo in Mexico; and a science/environment correspondent for the national news network Guatevision.

Walker also invited officials from health departments in Latin America who are charged with developing a communication strategy on Zika and other vector-borne diseases. Representatives from Mexico and Panama participated in a panel discussion, which included an M.D. from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health, on effective strategies and challenges in reaching a mass audience with information on the risks and prevention of Zika.

Journalists heard a superb presentation by Dr. Gisela Herrera, a specialist in infectious diseases, who is conducting a Phase 2B Zika vaccine trial in Costa Rica in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and medical professionals in countries such as Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. The presentation by Dr. Herrera offered a regional context for research being done on Zika and clinical trials led by the United States to develop a vaccine.

A highlight of the workshop was a presentation on the relationship between the environment and vector-borne diseases by Carlos de la Rosa, Ph.D., director of La Selva Biological Station run by the Organization for Tropical Studies, which was founded by a consortium of scientists from U.S. universities and the University of Costa Rica. After hearing Dr. de la Rosa’s presentation, the journalists made a day-long field visit to La Selva learn about the interdependence of health and biodiversity during a two-hour hike in the tropical rain forest.

A prestigious panel of scientists and medical professionals worked with the journalists during an interactive session on effective preparation and interview techniques for science and health stories. On the panel were: Dr. María Luisa Ávila Agüero, former Minister of Health in Costa Rica; Dr. Pedro León Azofeifa, president of the National Academy of Sciences in Costa Rica; Dr. José Vega-Baudrit, Director of the National Laboratory of Nanotechnology in Costa Rica; and Dr. Henriette Raventós Vorst, professor and researcher at the Center for Biological Celular and Molecular Research at the University of Costa Rica.

To date, 16 news stories based on presentations during the workshop have been published in national newspapers and science news websites, or broadcast on national news networks in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The journalists’ feedback on the workshop was overwhelmingly positive.

“I appreciate the opportunity that you have given independent journalists to participate in your workshop,” wrote participant Lucy Calderón, founder of EcoCienciaGT, an online science/environmental news site in Guatemala. “Your support, provided through training programs, encourages us to continue offering quality journalism to our audiences in addition to strengthening our credibility with our public.”

Wrote another journalist, “The quality of the speakers and scientists was excellent.
Thank you for opening and creating spaces to share the realities faced by journalists around the world.”

Gabriela Salido, executive editor of El Sol de Hermosillo in northern Mexico, said, “I have the moral obligation to take the information from this workshop to my newsroom, and with the motivation that I have received during this program it will not be difficult to do so.”


Internet presents new challenges for journalism in the era of fake news

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson and prominent Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui, center, met with journalists from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras during the inauguration of a December 2017 TechCamp in Mexico City.

MEXICO CITY – Prominent Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui said the internet presents “a great light and a great shadow ” for journalism in an era of fake news

On the opening day of a journalism TechCamp in Mexico City, Aristegui acknowledged “there is serious questioning” of the work of journalists.

“We have to investigate, corroborate and disseminate information,” she said. “We have to learn day by day (about new technology) without turning our backs on content. It is here that professional journalism plays a crucial role.”

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker joined the TechCamp as an instructor, with “boots-on-the-ground” investigative journalism training for almost 60 reporters from Mexico, Guatemala, El Savador and Honduras.

The TechCamp gave journalists new digital tools and suggested a range of financing methods to produce and publish in-depth reporting.

“It is important that we journalists find ways to continue professionalizing ourselves and to be ethically independent,” Aristegui said. “It is essential for democracy.”

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson inaugurated the December 7-8, 2017, TechCamp by expressing concern about the alarming increase in murders of Mexican journalists.

“We all know the dangers of doing journalism,” Jacobson told reporters and editors at the TechCamp, commending them for “professionalism and courage.”

She denounced the murders of Mexican journalists Javier Valdez, an award-winning journalist who founded the newspaper Riodoce in Sinaloa state, and investigative journalist Miroslava Breach. And she expressed concern that until there is a concerted effort by the Mexican government to investigate and prosecute attacks on journalists, the killings will continue.

“We will not remain quiet about these crimes,” said Jacobson. “We will raise our voices until these crimes are investigated.

“Together, we can make a difference,” she said.


 

Walker and InquireFirst media partner Fundación para el Periodismo team to offer training to investigative journalists in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia – These were the last days of class for a committed group of journalists who had been studying and reporting and writing all year to earn a masters-level certificate in investigative journalism.

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker, who worked for several weeks with the journalists on line, traveled to La Paz to instruct them on finding sources and on organizing and writing their stories.

The journalists were working on a wide range of important subjects as part of their final project and thesis. One journalist was working on a profile of a mafia family that controlled bars and table dance operations where human trafficking, prostitution and drug trafficking occurred. Another focused on the city’s lack of attention to crumbling infrastructure and change in climatic conditions that resulted in a dramatic decrease in water supply. A third was investigating the brutal mistreatment of domestic and wild animals and lack of enforcement due to nonexistent government funding.

At the conclusion of the Oct. 23-Nov. 11, 2017, workshop, journalists wrote Walker about all they had learned. “Thank you so much for sharing with us your values that we as journalists should put into practice every day,” La Paz journalist Susana Lopez wrote on Facebook.

The journalists’ projects were the result of an innovative program by the Fundación para el Periodismo (FPP), a nonprofit organization formed in La Paz in 2009 to train the next generation of journalists in Bolivia.

The Fundación, an InquireFirst media partner headed by prominent journalist Renan Estenssoro, has offered media training on a range of subjects since its inception. Now, the Fundación has expanded its outreach to journalists and media organizations by offering funding for investigative projects.

For the past year, the Fundación has provided funding on a project-by-project basis to two news organizations in La Paz: Agencia de Noticias Fides and Pagina Siete, both online publications.

The program is titled “Spotlight,” said Estenssoro, and it is supporting organizations like Pagina Siete that shine a light on important, but unreported stories in Bolivia.

In the case of Pagina Siete, “this media organization is shaping its profile as an investigative organization,” Estenssoro said.

The Fundación’s work was highlighted in a daily bulletin from the American Press Institute newsletter. Read more about the Fundación’s work:


 

Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop in San Francisco underscores need for regional science journalism network

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker (left) moderates a panel at the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop with independent science journalist Sergio Vicke (center) and Enrique Bustamante, director of Mexico City-based Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. Photo courtesy of El Universal/Germán Espinosa

 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The 2017 Latin America edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop sparked a commitment by more than 70 journalists from 15 countries to begin building a regional science journalism network.

The need for a network, which has long been a priority for workshop organizers Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. of México City and InquireFirst of San Diego, Calif., was underscored by seasoned science journalists who are looking beyond their borders to cover regional science, public health and environmental issues.

As global issues such as climate change, Zika virus and water shortages increasingly dominate the news, Latin American and Caribbean journalists agreed that their stories would be strengthened by collaboration across international borders to provide audiences a regional perspective.

InquireFirst and Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C. organized and directed the 2017 Latin American edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop on October 25, 2017, in San Francisco, Calif., in collaboration with the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ).

The 2017 international science journalism forum marked the first time the WCSJ held its biennial conference in the United States. Almost 1,400 science journalists from 70 countries attended the Oct. 26-30 WCSJ conference.

During the Ealy workshop, Ivan Carrillo, anchor of the Los Observadores program on México ’s TV Azteca and frequent contributor to National Geographic, discussed the need for a regional network with fellow panelists Valeria Román, cofounder of the Science Journalists Network of Argentina; Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, independent science journalist in México who is studying for a master’s degree in science journalism in New York; and Luisa Massarani, of Brazil, the Latin America and Caribbean coordinator for SciDev.Net.

In another session, reporters and editors participated in an interactive session on mining hidden science stories led by science journalists Debbie Ponchner of Costa Rica and Federico Kukso of Argentina.

Journalists discussed separating scientific fact from fiction during a panel moderated by Lynne Friedmann, editor of ScienceWriters magazine. Friedmann was joined on the panel by Nora Bar, science editor at La Nación in Argentina, and science and environment writer Mariana León, with El Financiero Bloomberg in México City.

In a panel moderated by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker, Mexican freelance journalist Sergio Vicke and Fundación Ealy Ortiz Director Enrique Bustamante discussed sustainable economic models for online science journalism organizations.

During a luncheon presentation sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, three prominent conservation scientists — Rob Wallace, Nuria Bernal Hoverud and James Aparicio — talked about their work at Identidad Madidi in Bolivia to explore and demonstrate the biodiversity in the South American country.

As part of this year’s Jack F. Ealy workshop, 15 science journalists received Ealy fellowships to attend the San Francisco workshop and the WCSJ. The journalists are working at media organizations in México , Costa Rica, Colombia, Perú, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Jamaica.

Fundación Ealy Ortiz A.C.  is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 by Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, publisher and owner of the daily newspaper El Universal in México . Since its inception, the Fundación has awarded more than 1,500 scholarships to journalists at more than 500 news organizations in Latin America to attend workshops the organization has conducted in Latin America, Europe and the United States.

 

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Executive Director Lynne Walker travels to Paraguay to meet with journalists, officials on access to information law

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – It’s been two years since Paraguay’s access to information law went into effect and reporters say they are often turned away when they use the law to request documents.

As Paraguay becomes the latest country in Latin America to adopt an access law, some reporters say their requests have been denied and they have been asked why they want the information, a violation of the spirit of the law.

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker traveled to Paraguay in September 2017 to meet with reporters, editors and government officials about implementation of the law.

During meetings at leading newspapers – ABC Color, Ultima Hora and La Nación — as well as radio and TV stations, some reporters said government officials have delivered requested documents within the 15-day legal time limit, but others said their requests for information had been turned down without explanation.

Walker was in Paraguay on September 28, UNESCO’s International Day for Universal Access. During her visit, she met with Vice Minister of Justice Weldon Black and Controller General Jose Garcia to discuss best practices for implementing the law.

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker talks with journalists and government officials in Caacupé, Paraguay, about best practices for the access to information law which went into effect in September 2015. Photo by Desirée Esquivel

Elida Acosta Davalos, the federal government’s director of access to public information, acknowledged that historically “Paraguay has had a secretive culture” and said, “we are pushing people to use the law.”

“If people don’t ask for information, what’s going to happen? We are going to return to that secretive culture again,” she said.

Since the law went into effect in September 2015, more than 4,000 requests for information have been filed online, with 83 percent resolved. But the budget for Vice Minister of Justice Black’s office is only $20,000 a year.

Journalists in Caacupé, Paraguay, a two-hour drive from the capital of Asunción, said government officials were not trained to handle requests before the law went into effect so they’re often in a quandary about how to respond. Because the officials don’t know how much information to release, they err on the side of denying requests, reporters said.

Walker met with about 50 officials and employees of FOIA units in government information and communication offices and engaged in a spirited Q&A session.

She also talked about fake news, ethics and access to information during a live interview on the program “El Péndulo” conducted by Carlos Peralta in Asunción.

Walker noted that four countries in Latin America and the Caribbean still do not have access to information laws – Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Costa Rica – and she talked about the fundamental importance of an access law to strengthening democracy.

During her week-long visit to Asunción, Walker also instructed a six-hour investigative journalism class at the Universidad Autónoma de Asunción which was attended by about 60 journalists, journalism students and law students.

Digital Storytelling: Latin American journalists learn to take the lead in an ever-changing reporting environment

Robert Hernandez, InquireFirst board member and USC Annenberg professor reminded journalists of the “rules of the road: journalism first, technology second. We always follow our ethics. Social media does not replace good journalism.” Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

SAN DIEGO — The future of journalism lies in being able to tell stories visually.

“If your intention is to be a leader you have to think of new ways to tell your stories,” Raghu Vadarevu, Editor of Digital Storytelling/Global Enterprise for The Associated Press, told journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean who attended an Aug. 21-25, 2017, workshop organized and directed by InquireFirst on Digital Storytelling.  “We can’t lose site of this: we’re still trying to tell stories.  We just have to use all the new tools at our disposal to do that.”

During an intensive session with Vadarevu, journalist participants learned about cutting edge approaches to telling their stories online. Vadarevu talked about using new techniques such as cartoons to tell a complex news story.  He described how The Associated Press used illustrations to tell the story of a girl who ran away from ISIS, detailing her treacherous journey with beautiful and moving drawings.

Raghu Vadarevu, Associated Press editor of digital storytelling/global enterprise, told journalists, “If your intention is to be a leader you have to think of new ways to tell your stories.” Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

“You need to learn to communicate with people who can produce the visuals,” he said.

Vadarevu walked journalists through the steps for telling a digital story.

Discuss opportunities for digital elements before field reporting, he said.   And remember that “we don’t need an elaborate website to tell a story.  We’re gearing a lot of our content to the mobile experience. We can tell it in pieces on social media,” Vadarevu said.

He reminded journalists that “telling a story doesn’t end with publication.  It continues on social media. With social media, there’s a lot more opportunity to engage with readers and users.”

The workshop, organized by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker and held on the University of San Diego campus, provided journalist participants with tools and techniques for reporting on multiple platforms as well as financing methods and organizational advice for their online media organizations. Journalists attended the program from México, Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba.

Robert Hernández, InquireFirst board member and USC Annenberg professor of professional practice, demonstrated low-cost and no-cost apps that journalists can use to tell their stories more effectively and deliver them to audiences real-time. But Hernández reminded the journalists of the “rules of the road: journalism first, technology second.  We always follow our ethics. Social media does not replace good journalism.”

Walter Baranger, a journalism professor at California State University, Fullerton, and former senior editor of news operations at The New York Times, spoke with journalists about cyber security and measures that reporters and photojournalists can take to protect their work and their equipment from private and state-sponsored hackers.

Walter Baranger, a journalism professor at California State University, Fullerton, and vice president of InquireFirst, spoke with journalists about cyber security and measures reporters and photojournalists can take to protect their work from private and state-sponsored hackers. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Janine Warner, co-founder of SembraMedia, reviewed effective strategies for economic sustainability of online news organizations. She cited her recently completed study, Inflection Point, that showed that Latin America’s online organizations are strong and expanding.

There are more than 600 online news organizations now operating in Latin America and Spain, Warner said, and 49 percent of those news organizations have been operating for more than four years, a clear sign of sustainability.  About 66 percent of those organizations had four or more sources of funding, demonstrating a diversity of funding sources which is key to economic stability.

The Digital Storytelling workshop organized by InquireFirst served to strengthen the resolve of journalists to launch or expand online news organizations, which are an effective means of reaching the population – especially young people – and delivering credible, precise, thorough reporting on the important events taking place in their countries.

At the conclusion of the workshop one journalist wrote, “I am leaving with a new idea to start my own online news site.”  Another said, “You can be sure that everything I learned will be shared with others to improve the information we provide to our audiences.”


19 Latin American journalists attend inaugural InquireFirst symposium

Eileen Truax, InquireFirst journalist and author of “Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream,” spoke with reporters and editors at the November 2016 international investigative journalism symposium. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

SAN DIEGO — Journalists from Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Panama, attended InquireFirst’s inaugural international investigative journalism symposium Nov. 14-18, 2016, in San Diego. The program, organized and directed by InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker and conducted entirely in Spanish, focused on investigative journalism in the digital age.

Nineteen Latin American journalists met with prestigious U.S. journalists and professors who offered in-depth instruction on digital reporting, data reporting and visualization of data, video reporting and economic models for conducting investigative reporting on a limited budget.

A panel discussion with Susan White, executive director of InquireFirst who has edited three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects at three U.S. media organizations, focused on techniques for reporting and writing a prize-winning investigative project. White was joined on the panel by Dave Hasemyer, an investigative reporter for InsideClimateNews who is a winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

Erik Olsen, West Coast video correspondent for Quartz and former senior video journalist for The New York Times, taught a half-day session on new techniques for reporting and editing news documentaries for websites and mobile devices. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

Robert Hernandez, associate professor of professional practice at the University of Southern California and InquireFirst board member, instructed a three-hour workshop on digital journalism and low-cost and no-cost digital tools available to journalists to enhance their reporting and website presentation. Erik Olsen, West Coast video correspondent for Quartz and former senior video journalist for The New York Times, talked about techniques and equipment for producing visual news reports.

Danielle Cervantes, InquireFirst journalist and professor of investigative data journalism at Point Loma University in San Diego, taught a workshop on data research.

Eileen Truax, InquireFirst journalist and author of Dreamers, An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream, spoke with journalists about ways to conduct investigative journalism with limited resources.

Walker taught a half-day session that provided journalists with practical techniques to gain access to credible and confirmed information when official channels to information are blocked. This interactive session encouraged journalists to stretch beyond the typical search for news sources and to think analytically about ways to conduct investigations without putting their lives at risk.

Danielle Cervantes, InquireFirst journalist and professor of investigative and data journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, showed reporters and editors how to mine data to conduct in-depth reporting. Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

During the workshop, journalists met in Tijuana with Adela Navarro, co-publisher of the weekly newspaper Zeta, and her investigative team to discuss freedom of expression and the risks and responsibilities of reporting in dangerous conditions. They discussed border issues with San Diego State University Professor Victor Clark Alfaro, director of an independent center in Tijuana, the Bi-National Center for Human Rights. And they spoke about public security issues with Vicente Calderon, founder of the online news site TijuanaPress.com and editorial coordinator of Newsweek Baja California.

The journalists also engaged in a discussion with four regional experts on post-electoral implications for issues such as immigration, the bi-national relationship and the U.S.-Mexico border.

As a result of the InquireFirst symposium, journalists proposed several projects for reporters and editors in their own cities as well as for university journalism students, creating a multiplier effect for the training provided during the program. Their intent is to ensure that the experience and knowledge they gained extends beyond the confines of the San Diego classroom and into newsrooms and journalism organizations throughout Latin America.

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Executive Director Lynne Walker leads investigative journalism workshops in Honduras and Guatemala

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker talks about the importance of press freedom during an interview at La Prensa, the leading daily newspaper in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Photo by Yoseph Amaya/La Prensa

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker traveled to San Pedro Sula in June 2017 to meet with investigative journalists who cover crime, corruption and gang warfare in the most dangerous city in Honduras.

San Pedro Sula is an industrial center, a business hub on the northern coast with more daily flights than the capital of Tegucigalpa.  But it is also a center of gang activity, making it the most violent city in the most dangerous country in Latin America.

Against that backdrop, more than 60 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker, a career journalist who for 15 years reported on Mexico, Central America and Cuba as Mexico City bureau chief for Copley News Service. The workshops were held at the Colegio de Periodistas and organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Walker directed interactive workshops designed to help journalists think creatively as they search for credible sources for investigative stories.  All too often, stories are blocked by official sources who refuse to provide information.  In that reporting environment, Walker led journalists through a series of reporting scenarios in which they used their experience, their wits and their intuition to find untapped sources who can provide reliable information for in-depth news stories.

Walker challenged journalists to think outside the box, to push themselves to conduct in-depth reporting while maintaining a clear sense of journalistic ethics. And she underscored the need for investigative journalists to always be mindful of their personal safety.

In the colonial city of Comayagua, some 80 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker. Many of the journalists traveled from the distant regions of Marcala, La Paz, Tela and Progreso to attend the professional development programs.

Walker also traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to lead an investigative journalism workshop for print, radio and television reporters.  During the day-long session at the Rafael Landivar University, Walker talked with journalists about the importance of their work in reducing corruption and strengthening democracy. She discussed an international code of ethics adopted by major news organizations around the world.  And she reviewed protocols for journalist safety, urging journalists to be ever mindful that no news story is worth their life.

In Guatemala City, Walker worked with 40 journalists and students on investigative techniques.  Several of the journalists in Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango had previously attended journalism workshops organized by Walker in San Diego, California.


 

Executive Director Lynne Walker meets with reporters and editors on journalist safety in Ciudad Juárez

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InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker instructed a two-day workshop for reporters and editors in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on investigative journalism and journalist safety. Photo by Gustavo Cabullo Madrid

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker met with reporters and editors in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on May 15-16, 2017, to instruct a two-day workshop on investigative journalism and journalist safety.

In Ciudad Juarez, more than 30 investigative reporters and editors from the city’s leading print, radio and television outlets participated in six hours of interactive training led by Walker.

During the first session of the workshop organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Walker shared techniques for gaining access and finding sources. The second and final day of the workshop, Walker led a training exercise on interview techniques and organizing and writing an investigative story.

Rocio Gallegos, editorial director of El Diario, looks at a map of Ciudad Juarez marked with the areas of the city where the worst outbreaks of drug violence have occurred. Photo by S. Lynne Walker/InquireFirst

A key focus of the workshop was journalist safety. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mexico is one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists. On the list of the world’s deadliest places to be a reporter, Mexico falls between the war-torn nation of Afghanistan and the failed state of Somalia. Last year, 11 Mexican journalists were killed, the country’s highest tally this century, the New York Times reported.

March was the worst month on record for Mexico, according to Article 19, a group that tracks crimes against journalists worldwide. At least seven journalists were shot across the country in March — outside their front doors, relaxing in a hammock, leaving a restaurant, out reporting a story, according to the Times.

On May 15, Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter whose coverage focused on drug trafficking and organized crime, was shot to death in the northern state of Sinaloa outside the offices of the publication he co-founded, Rio Doce.

During a private breakfast with news directors from El Diario, the leading newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Radiorama and Net Multimedia, Walker listened as they desctibed the challenges faced by news organizations in the border city. During the discussion, the news directors agreed to begin convening regular meetings to strengthen journalism in Ciudad Juarez.

In the newsroom of El Diario, Walker met with Editorial Director Rocio Gallegos to talk about ways that investigative journalism organizations such as El Diario and InquireFirst can work together on cross-border stories.

The Investigative Journalism & Journalist Safety workshop resulted in two important takeaways for editors and reporters. First, they agreed to talk with top directors at their news organizations about implementing safety protocols. Second, they discussed inviting an international organization such as Article 19 to Ciudad Juarez to provide training sessions on protocols and journalist safety.

In the pressroom of El Diario, the most prominent daily newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, press operator Alberto Carillo looks through a freshly printed copy of the paper’s weekly magazine. The drug war has taken a toll on the 41-year-old newspaper, which has seen circulation drop by half since 2008. Photo by S. Lynne Walker

The workshop also served to encourage reporters and editors to keep striving for excellence in their reporting. Journalist Gustavo Cabullo described the workshop as demonstrating “the art of weaving a good story.” In a Facebook post during Walker’s workshop, Cabullo wrote, “today she reminds us of the excitement of a good story, of producing excellent journalism.”

The Ciudad Juarez workshop is the first in a series of professional training workshops that Walker will lead this year in Latin America. In June, Walker will spend two weeks working with journalists in Honduras and Guatemala on investigative reporting techniques. In October, she will organize and direct the 2017 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism workshop in San Francisco, Calif. And in November, Walker will travel to Bolivia to work with journalists in La Paz.

In the Honduran city of Tela on the north Caribbean coast, Walker will lead a two-day workshop on accurate sourcing and on producing thorough, balanced investigative journalism that results in greater transparency and good governance. During her trip to Honduras, Walker will conduct workshops in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.

Walker will also travel to Quetzaltenango and Cayala, Guatemala to share tools and techniques for investigative journalism with reporters, editors and university students. The workshops are being organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.