Winners of the Javier Valdez Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism were presented during the 2018 Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (Colpin) held from Nov. 8-11 in Bogota, Colombia.
First place went to the collaborative report on Hurricane Maria, "Los Muertos de María” (Maria’s Dead). The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) of Puerto Rico, with support from the Associated Press (AP) and Quartz, worked for months on the winning investigation, traveling all over the island, to face opacity from the government in the treatment of figures and information about the victims left by the cyclone.
Omaya Sosa, Jeniffer Wiscovitch and Carla Minet from CPI, Ana Campoy and YouYou Zhou from Quartz and Michael Weissenstein from AP received the award in the Colombian capital.
Second place was a draw between two prestigious investigations from Peru and Argentina: “Caso Lava Juez” from IDL-Reporters of Peru and "Los Cuadernos de la Corrupción” (The Notebooks of Corruption), by Diego Cabot of newspaper La Nación in Argentina, respectively. The alleged acts of corruption that each of these investigations revealed in their respective countries signified a before and after in the political and judicial reality of Peru and Argentina.
In the middle of this year and after a meticulous analysis, IDL-Reporteros published a series of leaked audio recordings of telephone conversations between supreme judges, lawyers of defendants, congressmen, politicians, businessmen, among others. The audio recordings revealed irregularities and alleged acts of corruption at the highest levels of Peruvian justice and politics.
Diego Cabot's investigation was based on a group of notebooks that were delivered to him, with annotations made over 10 years about a series of incriminating acts at the business and political levels in Argentina.
Third place went to "Escándalo en la Gimnasia" (Gymnastics Scandal) by Joanna de Assis, of TV Globo of Brazil, and the members of her team, Wagner Luis Susuki, Jae Ho Ahn and Mauricio Trinidade y Oliveira. Her investigation uncovered one of the biggest scandals of sexual harassment in Brazil, revealing 42 cases of alleged sexual abuse that point to the former coach of the Brazilian gymnastics team, Fernando de Carvalho.
Thanks to the sponsorship of the Organization of American States (OAS) this year, from UNESCO, the World Bank, the Nordic countries and the Open Society Institute, first prize received US $10,000, and second and third place received US $5,000 each.
The jury was composed of Lise Olsen (United States), Ewald Scharfenberg (Venezuela), Giannina Segnini (Costa Rica), Fernando Rodrigues (Brazil) and Santiago O'Donnell (Argentina).
Another 12 investigations received honorable mention:
The Latin American investigative journalism awards, which receive about 200 applications annually, were created by IPYS in 2000. From the beginning, the Institute's objective was to motivate journalistic work on matters of public interest in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Since the first edition in 2001, the organizations that have joined this effort include Transparency International and Open Society Institute.
At the beginning, it was called the "Latin American Award for the Best Journalistic Investigation of a Corruption Case.” In 2009, since it began to be delivered within the framework of Colpin –also organized by IPYS–, its name changed to "Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism."
Since 2018 it has been called the "Javier Valdez Latin American Award for Investigative Journalism” in honor of the renowned Mexican investigative journalist who covered drug trafficking issues and who was murdered on May 15, 2017, allegedly by organized crime.