Between nostalgia and virtuality, the Gabo Foundation highlights the best of Ibero-American journalism

Between nostalgia and virtuality, the Gabo Foundation highlights the best of Ibero-American journalism

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Image category winner “Defenders of the jungle”, published in El País de España. By: Francesc Badia i Dalmases and Pablo Albarenga.

In a virtual ceremony, presented from the botanical garden of Medellín, the Gabo Awards for journalism 2020 were awarded this Thursday.

The event, which began at 6:30 in the afternoon, Colombian time, was presented by Amalia Londoño Duque, who, at the beginning of the broadcast, stressed that it was “a night of hope, celebrating a journalism that resists, that stands strong in the face of challenges, to shed a light where there is darkness ”.

The driver highlighted that journalism has a responsibility to contribute to the prevalence of stories that are true, without forgetting its inescapable commitment to ethics.

Since 2013, Medellín, Colombia, has been the host of these awards which, this time, received the application of 1,443 jobs. Jaime Abello Banfi, executive director of the Gabo Foundation, assured that this is the demonstration that there is “a journalism that resists, that wants to serve society and that has done so with great determination in the midst of the pandemic and, above all , a journalism that is turning to collective and collaborative work ”, which, he stated, stood out in the finalists of the four categories of the contest.

The first prizes were awarded in the Text category, in which the report was finalists “The invisible drug trafficker: in the footsteps of Memo Fantasma”, by Jeremy McDermott.

The executive director of Isight Crime assured that the main challenge of this investigation was to confirm the identity of “Ghost Memo”, especially because there was no collaboration from the Colombian authorities or the United States “because he was an informant for the DEA.”

McDermott stressed that the report had a significant impact, and even affected the environment of the vice president of Colombia and revealed how the authorities had not identified, and less processed, one of the most dangerous drug paramilitaries in the country.

The second nominee was the report “Hugo, history of a heart”, written by Pedro Simón and published in El Mundo, from Spain; the chronicle about the process of a heart transplant for a little boy. “Journalism has to do with making sure people do not pass by in front of certain stories,” said Simón.

“Venezuela or two smugglers paradise”, published by InfoAmazonía and the Miami Herald, was the last finalist. Bram Ebus, one of the authors, explained that it is an investigation into the conflict generated by the illegal exploitation of gold in the south of Venezuela, which, the reporter assured, is a fundamental piece of social conflicts in that country.

Stefano Wrobleski, another of the filmmakers, highlighted the collaboration of local journalists in different countries, who interviewed more than 200 people

The Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio, widow of the writer José Saramago, spoke on behalf of the jury, also composed of the Colombian Santiago Gamboa and the Nicaraguan Sergio Ramírez, assuring that they found “There is not one winner but many and many winners”, which, he assured, is a sign that “journalism is active and alive as very rarely.”

The winner, announced Pilar del Río, was “Venezuela, or paradise two smugglers”.

Winners of the Text category with the publication “Venezuela, or two smugglers paradise”, published in InfoAmazonia, Miami Herald,, De Correspondent and Correo del Caroní.

Winners of the Text category with the publication “Venezuela, or two smugglers paradise”, published in InfoAmazonia, Miami Herald,, De Correspondent and Correo del Caroní.

The second prominent category was “Image”, which includes works in photography, video and multimedia

The nominees in this category were the work “Defenders of the jungle”, published by El País, Spain. Francesc Badia i Dalmases, one of the filmmakers explained that they traveled through the Amazon jungle seeking to discover how indigenous communities were fighting against extractivism that is destroying habitat.

Pablo Albarenga, the other author of the piece, highlighted the importance of the stories told by its own protagonists.

GIG – The Uberização do Trabalho, from the Brazilian channel Globo New, was the second finalist in this category. Maucio Monteiro Filho explained that they accompanied workers in different parts of the continent for a time in order to show the effect of digital platforms on employment; According to Caue Angeli, another of the filmmakers, they made the documentary in order to help people reflect on the employment situation of hundreds of Latin Americans who work with these applications.

The third work nominated in this category was “The suicide girls of El Salvador, which, according to Patricia Clarembaux, is a bilingual multimedia report on the brutal violence suffered by girls and young people in that Central American country.

Almudena Toral explained that the documentary emerged after having made several reports on violence in El Salvador, which decided to delve into an investigation that sought to hear the testimonies of many women with stories that had not been told.

For three weeks, the filmmakers interviewed a dozen Salvadoran girls and women, with the aim, Toral explained, of revealing the reasons why they are fleeing their country.

Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, founder and editor of the news website Confidencial, was in charge of to announce the award for the documentary “Defensores de la selva”, directed by Francesc Badia i Dalmases

Image Category Winners.

Image Category Winners. 

Clemente Manuel Zabala was one of the first editors of Gabriel García Márquez, and in his name, the Gabo Awards highlight the work of the editors.

The jurors, María Teresa Ronderos, Germán Rey and Mónica González, awarded the award to the group of editors of the digital magazine Cerosetenta, of the University of Los Andes, Colombia, highlighting the team, and not to a singular editor, because, they assure, with their work, quality and their collective leadership are they have become an example of how to do journalism from the universities.

The next category was “Coverage”; that highlights current work in any format.

The journalist José Luis Sanz stood out in the realization of the series of reports “Frontera sur”, the teamwork between the Spanish media El País and the Salvadoran digital newspaper El Faro, that allowed some 25 people to participate in covering the migration processes on the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

“The water exploiters” is the product of a group called Mexicans against corruption and illegality, which, according to Thelma Gómez, wanted to highlight the inequality in access to water in Mexico, where individuals and private companies have more than one million cubic meters of concessioned water.

The third work in this category was “Land of the Resistant.” Dora Montero explained that the objective of this series was to make visible the struggle of hundreds of leaders who face threats and violence to defend the environment on the continent. More than 45 people, including journalists, data analysts, photographers, videographers, designers and developers participated in the production of this piece.

The Brazilian Rosental Alves, a specialist in online journalism, announced “Southern Border” as the winner of the category.

Coverage category winners.

Coverage category winners. 

The last category was innovation, in which “Funes: an algorithm against corruption”, from Peru; “Radar Aos Fatos”, from Brazil, and “Seven hours of anguish in La Modelo”, from Colombia. The winner was Radar Aos Fatos.


Finally, the work of Radio Cooperativa de Chile stood out in the Excellence category.

At the end, the presenter promised: “We will return, we will celebrate together and we will do so in the company of all the people who work for journalism throughout the length and breadth of Latin America. All invited to the 2021 Gabo Award ”.

Pilar Quintana won the Alfaguara Prize.

Recycling plastic that is later turned into glasses: the initiative that motivates children of Chocó to take care of the environment.


Ben Oakley
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