The Voice of Guanacaste Investigation Wins Latin American Journalism Award

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This week, the investigative report, “Can President Solís Save Guanacaste from Drought?” won an Etecom Latinoamérica Award from telecommunications company Telefónica, which has given out the award for six years to students from the region.

Student Bernardo Montes de Oca, from San Judas Tadeo University, is the first Costa Rican to win this award, which includes a two-week trip to Spain and an internship at the daily El País, along with visits to several media outlets and Telefónica headquarters in Madrid.

“We showed that Tico journalism is high-quality and demonstrated the importance of having small and diverse media that is willing to try different things,” Montes de Oca said.

Montes de Oca worked with a team of mentors at The Voice of Guanacaste for five months as apart of the Costa Rican journalism competition Punto y Aparte to explain the advancement of the Integral Program to Supply Water to Guanacaste, or PIAAG.

Montes de Oca also was the winner of the first generation of Punto y Aparte, which allowed him to compete for an Etecom.

The digital project offers a consultation tool that indicates the advancement of all PIAAG projects, so that local residents can find out if the government is complying with its promises. The app was developed by engineers and designers at 5e Creative Labs.

According to an emailed statement from Telefónica, the award’s international jury included Cristina Aby-Azar, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Americas, Ricardo Trotti, executive director of the Inter American Press Association, Pedro Zuazua, communications director at Spain’s Prisa Noticias, and Pedro Patrón, director of communications at Telefónica Latinoamérica.

“The investigation confronts one of the primary contemporary problems on an international level, the management of water, by appropriately using the techniques and language of digital communication and journalism,” the statement added.