The Voice of Guanacaste, Interferencia and Confidencial won the 2020 Jorge Vargas Gené / Oscar Cordero National Award for “The Drawn Border,” a binational cross-border investigative series.
The investigative series includes audiovisual productions, written reports and podcast episodes to tell about how COVID-19 impacted the lives of families in the cross-border communities between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The jury from the College of Journalists and Communicators (Colper), which awarded the recognition, thought that the work “is a great report that integrates the dimensions of health, politics, poverty, immigration and violence in the context of the pandemic.”
They also pointed out that “it is a comprehensive and broad approach that denotes a solid, in-depth investigation and interviews with people who are living through it that give it an enormous human impact.”
Gabriela Brenes, executive director of The Voice of Guanacaste, commented that “the collaboration allowed us to strengthen our work and raise not just the journalistic quality, but also the social impact of this investigation.”
The three media are deeply committed to ethical, rigorous journalism that, above all, adds value to the communities. That made a huge difference in the cohesion we had throughout the whole process,” she added.
Confidencial’s journalist, Cindy Regidor, sees the award as the Costa Rican union’s recognition of the need to cover populations and realities that are usually seldom portrayed in the media. “It provided readers with a series of testimonies that helped to better understand what was happening at the border,” she added.
On behalf of Interferencia, journalist Hulda Miranda said that the recognition of the investigative journalism and the collaborative work is an exercise that strengthens the voice of people in vulnerable conditions and strengthens democracy. “At the same time, we want to emphasize that doing quality journalism requires breaking down traditional schemes,” she commented.
The Communication Awards
Alternative Media Award, Carmen Cornejo Mendez: Linea Vieja and Petra magazine.
Rene Picado Esquivel Award for audiovisual productions: “La era de sembrar” (Planting season) from the State Distance Learning University and “Donde nace el olvido” (Where oblivion is born) by Fressy Camacho and Carolina Jarquin.
University recognition, Presbyter Armando Alfaro Paniagua: Collective Communication students of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) for the advertising campaign “Es en serio?” (Are you serious?), about the use of contraceptives, published by the National Institute of Women (INAMU), and Mario Leiton Romero for the journalistic work “La realidad de los indígenas en las universidades públicas” (The reality of indigenous people in public universities).
Mario Roa Prize for photojournalism: Isaac Villalta Vargas from Diario Extra for his photography with the article “Papás de ciclista piden libertad para homicida” (Parents of cyclists request freedom for killer).
Francisco “Chico” Montero Award for radio production: Rodolfo Gonzalez for the episode “196 años de la Anexión del Partido de Nicoya” (196 years of the Annexation of the Party of Nicoya). Honorable mention: Alejandro Arley for “Con los pies en la luna” (With feet on the moon).
Public relations, Norma Loaiza Gutierrez prize: Zona de Prensa for the campaign project “Jimenez Deredia sculpts San Jose.” Honorable mention: “GIRS online” project by Milenio Communications for the Municipality of Heredia.
The advertising and advertising design prizes were declared undecided.
The Voice’s Recognitions
The Voice of Guanacaste’s journalistic work has been recognized by various awards.
Currently, “Migrants from Another World,” the collaborative investigation coordinated by the Latin American Center for Journalistic Investigation, which The Voice of Guanacaste participated in along with 18 other media from around the world, is a finalist for the Fetisov Journalism Awards in the “Contribution to Civil Rights” category.
In 2019, we were given the Angela Acuña Braun National Prize for Gender Equality and Fairness for 2018-2020 from the National Institute of Women (INAMU).
In August 2019, the Inter-American Press Association chose the article “Largest Papagayo Investors Dealt and Stashed Money in Tax Havens” as the only investigation finalist from Costa Rica.
Also in 2019, we received an honorable mention from the Alberto Marten Chavarria Prize for the solutions journalism report “Birth Control to Fight Poverty in Guanacaste.”
That same year, The Voice of Guanacaste received an honorable mention in the 2018 Pio Víquez National Journalism Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCJ).
In August 2017, the Schmidheiny VIVA Awards gave us second place in the Social Innovation category. These awards are given to social entrepreneurs who perform an activity with demonstrable impact in the region.
In November 2017, the Costa Rican-North American Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica (AmCham) gave us an honorable mention for the best journalistic work in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility for “Guanacaste’s Forgotten Trash,” done in conjunction with the journalistic program Punto y Aparte.
In February 2017, the investigative report “Can President Solis Save Guanacaste from Drought?” won the Latin America Etecom award, which is awarded to students in the region by Telefónica telecommunications company.
In 2016, AmCham gave an award to an investigation by The Voice of Guanacaste and The Tico Times that showed how a large part of the water concessions in the Tempisque River do not have environmental impact studies.
In 2016, Colper also recognized The Voice of Guanacaste’s “valuable contribution to society by presenting information in a different way with impact and originality.”