Donation

ONE JOURNALIST CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
1000 JOURNALISTS CAN RESHAPE THE FUTURE

Your contribution will provide reporting grants and professional training for Latin American journalists who are covering Covid-19 and the climate change and environmental issues that are devastating their region.
You are also supporting investigative journalists as they probe sensitive issues that affect the stability of their countries.

Here are examples of how your contribution will make an impact:

$25
Provides books and materials fora journalist during our training program

$50
Pays for a journalist to attend a networking session with journalists from other countries

$100
Sends a journalist on a field visit

$250 
Provides travel funds for expert journalism instructors to conduct interactive training sessions

$500
Pays for a journalist’s international travel to our week-long training program

$1,000
Provides a journalist with a reporting grant for an investigative project

$2,000
Gives a team of reporters financial support for an in-depth health or environmental project

$3,000
Pays the tuition of a Latin American journalist to attend a 5-day training program in the U.S.

We thank those who have supported us over the years:

Joaquin Alvarado
Stephen Anderson
Kris Banvard
Walter Baranger
Dana Boyd Barr
Tony Cavin
Alfredo Corchado
Jennifer Jackson Cox
Sue Cross
Anne Da Vigo
Phyllis Weeks-Daniel and Bob Daniel
Jeffrey Davidow

Brenda Dianne
Carlos Diaz de Leon
Sandra Dibble
James Dickmeyer
Elizabeth Douglass
Mickie Enkoji
Steve Fainaru
Jeff Franks
Lynne Friedmann
Harold Fuson
Jamie Gold

Kathleen Guerra
C. Ray Hall
Ken King
Angela Kocherga
Don Kohlbauer
Barry Locher
Elizabeth Lubrano
John Mann and Carol Landale
Steve Martarano
Jan McGirk
Jere McInerney

Mary-Rose Mueller and Bill Mueller
Patricia Muñoz
Genevieve Nauman
Edmund Ong
Sean Pyle
Sam Quinones
Rosalind Reid
Michael Salour
Ric Sandoval
Adam Schweigert
Carol Shealy

Patricia Smith
Alan Spector and Nancy Spector
Ginger Thompson
Eileen Truax
Jeanne Turner
Angela Vorhies
Glenda Winders
Susan White
Diying Wu
Nancy Wyld
Sandra Young

We are grateful to our founding donor, Cheryl Clark, a journalist and long-time San Diego resident, for the generous gift that allowed InquireFirst to put into place the infrastructure necessary to get our nonprofit started.

We are also appreciative of San Diego attorney Marie M. Stockton for her advice and counsel in establishing InquireFirst as a non-profit organization in California.

We thank the husband-wife design team of Kris and Deb Lindblad for their pro bono work on our promotional materials.

A special thanks to Anthony S. Da Vigo, a California attorney who is committed to improving the lives of Latin Americans, for his significant contribution which allowed InquireFirst to launch its investigative journalism project, Bajo la Lupa.

Our thanks go to Darryl Solberg and his associate, Jordan Tessier, at the San Diego firm of Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP, for assisting us pro bono with our 501(c)(3) tax exemption filing with the IRS.

We’re headed to Mérida, México in 2020!

We’re headed to Mérida, México in 2020!

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photo by Luis J Jiménez/InquireFirst

We’re off to a great start in 2020 with our first-ever environmental investigative journalism workshop on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

On February 16, more than 20 science and environment journalists from the Amazon and Andean regions of South America and from cities throughout Mexico will arrive in Yucatan’s capital city of Merida for our four-day workshop.

We’d like to thank our sponsors — the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and National Geographic Society – for their support of our regional environmental workshop.

During this special edition of our science, health and environment program, InquireFirst will provide Latin American environmental journalists with intensive training on issues related to climate change, biodiversity, clean water and air, environmental policies and the impact of deforestation in the Western Hemisphere.

Journalists will participate in interactive sessions on new techniques for conducting environmental investigative journalism, as well as data journalism and fact-finding protocols. A strong emphasis will be placed on climate change and its impact on Latin America, as well as making global problems understandable and relevant at a local level.

A key session during the workshop will be a visit to a biological reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula to meet with farmers trying to end centuries of deforestation and rely on ecotourism as a means to generate income. Our discussion will focus on the economic and environmental viability of this effort to rescue critical areas of forest from destruction.

 

Join us via Facebook and Twitter @inquirefirst as we travel to Merida for this unprecedented science journalism program!

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Mexican science journalists Pablo Mares and Sergio Vicke awarded InquireFirst scholarships to attend WCSJ2019

Mexican science journalists Pablo Mares and Sergio Vicke awarded InquireFirst scholarships to attend WCSJ2019

We’re excited to announce that InquireFirst is providing full fellowships to Mexican science journalists Pablo Mares and Sergio Vicke to attend the 2019 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop and the World Conference of Science Journalists which will take place July 1-5 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Pablo is the founder of CientificoDigital.mx, which focuses on science, health and environmental coverage. He writes for the online environmental website Mongabay.com and for the health website Medscape.com. He is also a member of the Earth Journalism Network.

He has participated in the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hawaii, in the Conference of Parties 13 (COP13) on Biodiversity in Cancun, as well as a journalism workshop in Costa Rica organized by LatinClima and the Stanley Foundation on the transition to carbon neutral.

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.

Past Symposiums

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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: