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Censored Venezuelan Journalists Garner Top Awards from Columbia University

By: PanAm Post Staff - Aug 15, 2014, 12:21 pm

EspañolColumbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism has announced the 2014 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes. This year’s winners include Frank Bajak of the Associated Press, Tracy Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times, among other journalists from around the world. Distinguished honors were also given to two Venezuelan journalists, Tamoa Calzadilla and Laura Weffer of Últimas Noticias, awarded the Maria Moors Cabot Special Citation.

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“From war reporting to data journalism and political cartoons, this year’s Cabot winners bring us the news on diverse platforms, and they are the best in the profession,” said Steve Coll, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

“The depth and insight of their reporting keeps the world informed about this critical region and make us proud to honor their work at Columbia.”

The university chose to recognize Tamoa Calzadilla and Laura Weffer for their investigative, on-the-ground reporting of Venezuelan student protests beginning last February that resulted in violent clashes with police and other security forces.

Calzadilla and Weffer worked together on a series of stories that ultimately exposed Venezuelan security forces as responsible for the killing of two men during street protests in February.

In a second story, titled “Behind the Barricades,” Weffer recounted daily protests in the streets of Venezuela from two opposing points of view: a young soldier on one side, and a young protester on the other. Their newspaper editor, however, took issue with the story’s content and refused to publish it. As a result, Calzadilla resigned, and the story was eventually published online. Spread through Twitter, it soon went viral and received over a million hits.

The Cabot Prizes honor journalists throughout the Americas who cover events in the Western Hemisphere and further deeper understandings of the region through their journalism.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger will present gold medals and a US$5,000 honorarium to each medal winner, and a certificate to the citation honorees at a dinner and ceremony on Wednesday, October 15 at Columbia.

Source: Columbia Journalism School.