Jorge Ramos wins García Marquéz Recognition of Excellence and dedicates it to journalists killed for questioning power

In his more than 30 years as a journalist, Jorge Ramos has dedicated himself to holding power to account, to being a rebel, to disobeying, something he advises the next generations of journalists to do. Ramos, winner of the 2017 Recognition of Excellence of the Gabriel García Márquez (GGM) Journalism Award, has been committed to "causing discomfort and [doing] it through journalism,” as Venezuelan journalist Laura Weffer explains.

So when Donald Trump decided to run for the presidency of the United States, Ramos – who sees himself not only as a journalist, but as an immigrant – decided to face the candidate he classified as racist, sexist and xenophobic, from the basis of journalism, he explained.

And it was under that principle of being the counterpower that he began to cause Donald Trump some “discomfort” with questions at a press conference in Iowa. The now-president decided to expel the journalist from the conference, thus demonstrating a relationship with the press that would mark his administration. Ramos' work, which was already recognized in much of Latin America and the U.S.  Hispanic community, crossed more borders as a result.

His coverage during the U.S. elections was precisely one of the aspects highlighted by the Governing Council of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for the New Ibero-American Journalism (FNPI for its acronym in Spanish), when it unanimously awarded him the 2017 Recognition of Excellence of the Gabriel García Márquez (GGM) Journalism Award for his journalistic career.

“The Governing Council wants to highlight the courage and democratic conviction with which journalist Jorge Ramos has exposed the problems and defended the voice and rights of the Hispanic community in the United States of America. His longstanding and close connection with Latin minorities, who see him, listen to him, and follow him as a serious and reliable journalist for reporting the news and interpreting their dreams, frustrations and fears through different channels of communication, especially on television and in social networks, arose during the electoral process that took place in the United States during the last presidential election,” said the 2017 Act of Recognition of Excellence.

“Ramos made a great democratic contribution with incisive, honest and intelligent political journalism, in the midst of a campaign where many were unable to analyze and see what was really happening,” the Act added.

On his Twitter account, Ramos acknowledged the award and dedicated it to journalists “murdered for questioning power.”

To a large extent, Ramos developed his journalistic career – the motivation behind this recognition – in the U.S. after fleeing censorship in Mexico more than 30 years ago. During this time, he has covered five wars including the Civil War of El Salvador, the Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; he has also been present for significant events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid in South Africa and the September 11 attacks, among others.

He is currently host of Noticiero Univisión and the political program Al Punto. However, as Daniel Coronell, president of Univisión Noticias, pointed out, "Jorge is a reporter from beginning to end," since he participates in the selection of topics, the angles of investigation and even how to present the stories.

The Recognition of Excellence is given each year to a journalist or team of journalists "of recognized independence, integrity and commitment to the ideals of the public service of journalism" and whose career or special contribution in "search for the truth or the advancement of journalism” deserves to be recognized.

In previous years, journalists such as Dorrit Harazzim (Brazil), Giannina Segnini (Costa Rica), Javier Darío Restrepo (Colombia), Marcela Turati (Mexico) and the team from El Faro (El Salvador) have been given this award.

The Governing Council includes Jean-François Fogel, Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Germán Rey, Héctor Feliciano, Jon Lee Anderson, María Teresa Ronderos, Martín Caparrós, Mónica González, Sergio Ramírez and Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

Ramos will receive his Recognition of Excellence on Sept. 29 in Medellín, Colombia during the GGM Award ceremony at the Gabriel García Márquez Festival. As part of the Festival's programming, Ramos will speak with Rosental Alves, a member of the Governing Council, and María Elvira Arango, director of the program Los Informantes of Colombia.

The Festival and the Prize is organized by FNPI, with the purpose of "encouraging the search for excellence, innovation, rigor in the treatment of facts and ethical coherence in journalism.”

During the ceremony, the winners will also be announced for the other categories of the contest: text, image, coverage and innovation; and the Clemente Manuel Zabala Award will be presented to an exemplary Colombian editor.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.