The Voice of Guanacaste has written a new chapter in national journalism by winning the Telefónica Etecom 2016 prize from journalism collective Punto y Aparte.
Bernardo Montes de Oca, a journalism student at Universidad San Judas Tadeo, was awarded first place for his investigative report “Can President Solis Save Guanacaste from Drought?”
The story follows four months of intense investigation by Montes de Oca and The Voice of Guanacaste’s editorial team.
Montes de Oca, 30, who received a scholarship from the Fundación Konrad Adenauer Costa Rica-Panamá, said he is satisfied with the effort and hopes it will prompt action to respond to the province’s ongoing water shortages.
“The water crisis that Guanacaste has suffered should leave the study phase and prompt action,” Montes de Oca said. “I wanted to work with The Voice to have contact with people and to be able to tell the story, and because I admire their work.”
Punto y Aparte Director Yanancy Noguera said the group reviewed four multimedia story submissions, nine print stories and 14 digital ones from 10 different Costa Rican news outlets.
The Voice of Guanacaste was the only regional news media that participated in the awards, because according to Noguera, it has high standards and solid journalistic integrity.
Roberto Acuña, Web editor at The Voice of Guanacaste and a mentor to Montes de Oca on the investigation, said it has helped readers understand the nature of the province’s water crisis.
“I think this project responds to one of the deep concerns that Guanacastecans have, which is how to resolve the water problem in Guanacaste, and exactly how efficient and feasible is the government’s proposed solution,” Acuña said.
María Fernanda Cruz, editor-in-chief of The Voice of Guanacaste, reaffirmed the newspaper’s commitment to its readers and promised to continue efforts to produce high-quality journalism.
“This is recognition that quality journalism, which is based on facts and not opinions and which questions power, should be of greater prominence. For The Voice of Guanacaste, it’s an honor, but above all, it’s an impetus for us to continue producing quality investigations for our readers. That’s our commitment,” Cruz said.
Punto y Aparte also awarded student Christian Barquero Araya in the category of Multimedia Reporting for “La historia detrás de la pesca en el Golfo” (“The story behind fishing in the gulf”), produced by Telenoticias Canal 7, and Noelia Esquivel in the category of Web Reporting for “La llaga de ser mujer en el sistema penitenciario” (“The stigma of being a women in the correctional system”), published by Semanario Universidad.