InquireFirst launches Historias Sin Fronteras at World Conference of Science Journalists

Freelance science journalist Emiliano Rodríguez Mega selects a category for his cross-border science project during the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo by Lynne Friedmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – We’re pleased to announce that InquireFirst has awarded our first reporting grants to a team of Latin American science writers to support their work on a cross-border regional health story.

The reporters on the team were selected during our Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop, which was held on July 1 in Lausanne, Switzerland during the 2019 World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2019).

They were chosen by a team of judges who organized and evaluated two-minute lightening rounds of story pitches by 11 groups of Latin American science writers attending the workshop. The judges said the winning proposal was timely, relevant and focused on an underreported health issue in Latin America.

InquireFirst received support for the reporting grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.  The project will be published in Tangible (, an online science magazine based in Mexico, as well as the online edition of El Universal, the largest daily newspaper in Mexico. Our projected publication date is October 2019,  so stay tuned for more information .

Reporting will be conducted in South America, Central America and Mexico. The journalists on the team are:

Margaret Lopez

Margaret López, a science and economic reporter based in Venezuela who is the editor of HispanoPost Media Group and a collaborator with

Valeria Roman

Valeria Román, a freelance science writer based in Argentina who writes about science, health and the environment for
Science, Nature and Scientific American, as well as, and Forbes Argentina.

Debbie Ponchner

Debbie Ponchner, a science journalist with more than 15 years of experience in print and digital media, as well as newsroom management. She is based in her home country of Costa Rica where she leads DP Comunicación Estratégica, a company devoted to improving the communication of science.

Ivan Carrillo

Iván Carrillo, editor of Tangible, will serve as editor of the cross-border health project. He is the anchor of the program Los Observadores on Mexico’s TV Azteca and a writer for National Geographic and Newsweek en Español. He has also worked with Discovery Channel and CNN en Español.

We were thrilled to once again collaborate with Fundación Ealy Ortiz on the 16th annual Latin American edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop at the WCSJ2019 in Lausanne.

Some 44 journalists from 16 Latin American countries attended our July 1 workshop, which was held before the WCSJ2019 inaugural ceremony.

InquireFirst was proud to sponsor the participation of two Mexican environmental journalists – Sergio Vicke and Pablo Mares – by providing them with full scholarships to attend the Ealy workshop and WCSJ2019.

Fundación Ealy Ortiz sponsored 12 journalists to attend from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay,  Chile and Mexico.

Our day-long workshop featured two interactive sessions on narrative science writing and shaping cross-border science stories – from idea to reality.

We also had a panel discussion on new economic models for online science journalism sites as well as a dynamic exchange on building a regional network of science journalists.

Among our speakers were:

  • Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT (U.S.)
  • Iván Carrillo, editor of Tangible (Mexico)
  • Thiago Medaglia, founder of Ambiental (Brazil)
  • Diego Arguedas Ortiz, founder of Ojo al Clima (Costa Rica)
  • Daniela Hirschfeld, Latin American correspondent with net (Uruguay)
  • André Biernath, reporter with Saúde E Vital (Brazil)
  • Aleida Rueda, freelance science writer (Mexico)
  • Lynne Friedmann, former editor of ScienceWriters (U.S.)
  • Rosalind Reid, executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (U.S.)
  • Carlos Cienfuegos, director of the Faculty of Communication at Universidad Anáhuac (Mexico)
  • Germán Fajardo, M.D., president of the Latin American Association of Faculties and Schools of Medicine (Mexico)

More Symposiums

Mérida, Yucatán

MERIDA, Mexico – “There’s no more important work than the work being done by journalists,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of Campaign for Nature, during a February 2020 environmental investigative journalism workshop organized by InquireFirst.

As the world witnesses a “massive acceleration in extinction” of species, coverage of

Medellín & Cali, Colombia

MEDELLIN, Colombia – InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker met with journalists in Medellín and Cali, Colombia, July 29-August 3 to discuss new techniques for conducting investigative reporting.

During the programs organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Walker led interactive sessions with journalists who cover

Mexico City

MEXICO CITY – “Writing is music…language can be used in so many creative ways,” Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, told almost 30 science and health journalists attending our regional workshop in Mexico City.

As Blum lead journalists through an interactive workshop on narrative science

Fullerton, Calif.

FULLERTON, Calif. – Top U.S. journalists joined InquireFirst as speakers at our “Transparency and Investigative Reporting” workshop Feb. 25-March 1, when Latin American journalists traveled to Southern California to attend sessions on fact-checking, in-depth investigative reporting, cyber security and reporting with drones.

Among our speakers were:

Ginger Thompson, senior reporter
Guayaquil, Ecuador

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador -- S. Lynne Walker, President and Executive Director of InquireFirst, traveled to Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, in January 2019 to instruct a series of interactive workshops titled “Investigative Journalism in High-Risk Situations.”

In Guayaquil, journalists from newspapers, television networks and online news sites participated in a nine-hour interactive

Palo Alto, Calif.

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

San José, Costa Rica

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

México 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

La Paz, 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,