Latin American journalists win big in most recent King of Spain Awards

  • By Guest
  • February 2, 2013

By Morgan Long *

The chronicle of a Peruvian trash bag from sidewalk to landfill, a TV documentary series on the Mexican Revolution, and an exclusive interview with the Colombian prostitute behind last year’s U.S. Secret Service scandal were among the winning stories at the 30th annual King of Spain International Journalism Awards.

The awards, hosted on Jan. 24, recognized journalists in six categories: Television, Radio, Press, Environmental, Photojournalism, and Digital Journalism. More than 240 submissions were reviewed for consideration by this year’s jury. Five of the six prizes went to Latin American journalists.

Colombia’s Julio Sánchez Cristo, director of W Radio received the Radio prize for his exclusive interview with Dania Londoño Suárez, the prostitute behind the scandal involving a U.S. Secret Service agent of Barack Obama who refused to pay her in Cartagena.  According to Sánchez Cristo, the interview was circulated in every U.S. paper and in all types of media from around the world.  “It was unprecedented,” recalled Sanchez.

Leopoldo Gómez González and Bernardo Gómez Martínez, two executive directors of the largest Mexican media conglomerate, Grupo Televisa, received the Television prize for their historical dramatization of the Mexican Revolution.

Brazilian Wilton de Sousa Jr. was awarded the Photojournalism prize for his image of an indigenous protest in Rio de Janeiro. The photo appeared in the newspaper “O Estado de Sao Paulo” in June last year and depicted a group of indigenous people stopping traffic with bows and arrows in a statement to defend the interests of their community.

El Tiempo editor José Antonio Sánchez took the Digital Journalism prize for his multimedia piece, “Four Years to Save Water, Bogotá." The three-minute video illustrates the growing threat to seven million people’s water supply due to pollution and weak enforcement agencies, foreshadowing a grim future regarding water prices and abundance.

Peruvian Jack Lau won in the newest category, Environmental Journalism, for his article “An Appointment with your Garbage Bag at Midnight,” which chronicles the journey of a trash bag from a sidewalk to a landfill and covers issues related to public waste.

Finally, the Don Quixote Award, which recognizes superior command of Spanish language, was granted to Argentina’s Federico Demian Bianchini, editor of Revista Anfibia. His winning article “The Ultimate Amphibian,” profiled Supreme Court judge Raúl Zaffaroni.

Since 1983, the EFE News Agency and the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Latin America Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development have offered the King of Spain Awards to journalists from nations with historical ties to Spain.

Each recipient was granted a cash prize of between $8,000 and $12,000. The official ceremony will be held in the coming months in Madrid, where King Juan Carlos will present the prizes to the winning journalists.

* Morgan Long is a student in the class "Journalism in Latin America" within the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.

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.

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