Maria Moors Cabot Prizes

Honoring reporting on Latin America & the Caribbean

The Maria Moors Cabot Prizes are the oldest international awards in journalism and were founded in 1938. The prizes recognize journalists and news organizations with a distinguished body of work that has contributed to Inter­-American understanding.

2016 Maria Moors Cabot Prize Winners Announced

New York, NY, July 20  — Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism announced the 2016 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on the Americas. They represent a new generation of journalists reporting across platforms. The 2016 Cabot Prize winners are Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press, United States; Rosental C. Alves, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, United States; Margarita Martínez, filmmaker, Colombia; Óscar Martínez, El Faro, El Salvador. The Maria Moors Cabot Special Citation is awarded to Marina Walker Guevara, Panama Papers Reporting Team, International Consortium of Journalists (ICIJ). En Español.

The Cabot Prizes honor journalists for career excellence and coverage of the Western Hemisphere that furthers inter-American understanding. Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston founded the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes as a memorial to his wife in 1938. They are the oldest international journalism awards.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger will present gold medals with a $5,000 honorarium to each winner as well as a certificate to the citation honoree at a dinner and ceremony on Tuesday, October 18, at Low Library on the university’s Morningside Heights campus.

“The journalistic excellence displayed by the four 2016 Cabot Medalists — and by the recipient of this year’s special citation for reporting on the Panama Papers — reminds us just how much we rely on courageous reporting beyond our borders to be well-informed members of a global society,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. “The work of these honorees has made largely hidden events visible to the world. The Maria Moors Cabot Prize is both the oldest award in international journalism and one of the most relevant to current day challenges of democratic governance.”

Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press, United States

2016 Cabot Medalists

With untiring commitment and uncommon empathy, photographer Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press, United States, has created close-up images of people in Latin America that illuminate urgent social issues. He invests long hours and runs extraordinary risks to get inside the lives of his subjects. On a Caracas hillside and in Guatemalan barrios, he spends time with gang members, starkly revealing their cult of violence. He looks at those who are usually overlooked, plunging into Guatemalan sewer waters and climbing to Andean coca fields to show the struggles so many face in the region.

His camera also celebrates the Americas, capturing the joy of a rural village family when a new child is born. Always looking for new challenges, , he experiments with technique, using a box camera, for example, to make portraits that display the dignity of Mayan women. With riveting photographs, Abd projects the immediacy of his stories to audiences across the hemisphere and beyond.

Rosental C. Alves, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, United States, is a truly innovative leader in a changing media landscape who has made significant contributions to a new generation of journalists in the Americas and beyond.

After almost three decades of an outstanding career in Brazilian journalism, including two decades of reporting and editing at Jornal do Brasil, Alves became a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. From academia, he uses his experience, knowledge and engaging personality to expand the reach and quality of journalism across platforms. In 2002, Alves founded the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, a UT Austin outreach program that has trained thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean and publishes a blog covering news related to journalism and freedom of the press in the region. Throughout his career, Alves has upheld and promoted the essential role of journalists, informing citizens while fostering international understanding, particularly in the Americas.

As an independent television and film producer, Margarita Martínez, filmmaker, Colombia, has explained the nuances of the Colombian conflict and its complex culture in a simple, compelling and engaging way. Over the course of her career, she has covered Colombia’s two peace processes, the height of the urban war in Medellin by following the lives of three young people in a violent neighborhood dominated by paramilitary groups, and has told the story of indigenous people fighting for land through peaceful means.

Martínez demonstrates originality and a knack for capturing the public’s attention. She successfully brought the documentary format to Colombian television and to a mass audience. Her films are shown in universities, forums and film festivals throughout the United States and Latin America, contributing to inter-American understanding of Colombia and, indeed, of Latin America’s poor, its gangs, its children and its brave journalists. Through her riveting documentary work, she gives vision and voice to Latin American citizens.

With extraordinary courage and tenacity, Óscar Martínez, El Faro, El Salvador, has chronicled the most important and urgent stories of the Western Hemisphere. He has written about mass migration, organized crime and the violence tearing apart much of the region. He has explained these phenomena to a wide audience with moving prose and indefatigable detail.

To describe the desperate journey migrants make from his native El Salvador and other parts of Central America across a treacherous Mexico to the United States, Martínez spent neither days nor weeks but years with his subjects. He has repeatedly ridden the notorious Bestia (The Beast), the perilous train that migrants slip aboard, hoping to avoid murderous drug cartels and their corrupt police allies. Martínez is an intrepid reporter who takes great risks to expose remarkable stories, without sacrificing language and compelling narrative. His brave reporting and expressive talent enhance our understanding of Latin America.

Special Citation: Marina Walker Guevara, Panama Papers Reporting Team, ICIJ

The jury has decided to give a special citation to Argentine journalist Marina Walker Guevara, ICIJ’s deputy director, and the team that coordinated the Panama Papers, a series of investigative stories reported by more than 100 partners throughout the world. Under Director Gerard Ryle, Walker Guevara was the project manager of an unprecedented collaborative effort that revealed how a Panamanian law firm assisted world elites in sheltering wealth through offshore tax havens.

Thanks to the outstanding work of Walker Guevara and her team, which included two other Latin Americans and two Spanish journalists, the Panama Papers investigations brought together dozens of investigative journalists in Latin America, and their publications, exposing possible tax fraud, money laundering and other suspicious movements of money by political figures, corporations and criminals. The series prompted a much needed debate about transparency and accountability in the region and around the world.

The team trained journalists in their language and taught them how to use a digital platform containing millions of documents. It helped them navigate the complicated database and interpret intricate layers of information, making it possible for reporters to collaborate across competing media organizations within the same country and on other continents.

For their leadership and for the impact their collective effort is having on the region and the world, Marina Walker Guevara and the ICIJ Panama Papers Reporting Team deserve a special citation in the 2016 Maria Moors Cabot Prize.


These journalists and educators serve as the 2016 Cabot Prizes Board. The awards are administered by the trustees of Columbia University.

María Teresa Ronderos, Board Chair, and Director, Open Society Institute’s Program on Independent Journalism

Abi Wright, Executive Director of Professional Prizes, Columbia Journalism School

Juan Enríquez Cabot, chairman and CEO of Biotechonomy, LLC

Carlos Dada, founder of the news website El Faro

John Dinges, the former Godfrey Lowell Cabot Professor of Journalism at Columbia University

June Carolyn Erlick, editor-in-chief of ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

Gustavo Gorriti, journalist and founder of IDL Reporteros, a nonprofit, investigative journalism site

Carlos Lauría, Senior Americas Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists

Julia Preston, national correspondent for The New York Times

Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Tracy Wilkinson, a senior reporter covering foreign affairs out of the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau.

Seven of the nine members of the Cabot Prize Board have received Cabot medals.


The Cabot Prizes Board looks for exceptional and courageous reporting that impacts society, and evidence of commitment to important stories over the course of a long and distinguished career. They are particularly interested in journalists and news organizations that have made a sustained contribution to Inter­-American understanding through their coverage of the Americas. The board also seeks nominations for journalists who have taken active roles in upholding freedom of the press in the Americas. Although awards have been given to publishers and other managers, the board is especially interested in honoring individual journalists.

Recent and Past Winners

2015 Cabot Medalists

Lucas Mendes, GloboNews, Brazil

A pioneering foreign correspondent for Brazilian print media and television since the late 1960s, Lucas Mendes has built an outstanding and sustained body of work from his adoptive New York that has significantly advanced understanding between the Americas’ two largest nations.

Raúl Peñaranda, Página Siete, Bolivia

Raul Peñaranda is one of the most accomplished journalists in Bolivia today. He has been a successful media entrepreneur, an innovator, an outstanding editor and analyst, a prolific book writer and “a voice of cool reason” in the heated and polarized political environment the country has experienced in recent years.

Simon Romero, The New York Times, United States

In more than two decades of covering Latin America, Simon Romero has demonstrated extraordinary depth and breadth—as well as a vast historical knowledge— in explaining the continent to readers in the United States and beyond.

Mark Stevenson, Associated Press, United States

Mark Stevenson has covered Mexico and its complicated, sometimes violent, social conflicts for over two decades. In the process, he has ventured into some of the most remote and dangerous corners of the country, stepping surefootedly in areas where others fear to tread.

Special Citation

Ernesto Londoño, The New York Times, United States

In addition to the gold medals for lifetime achievement, the Cabot jury also searches for journalistic accomplishments in the past year that have had an extraordinary impact on the region. Such was the case with a remarkable series of editorials by The New York Times on Cuba. The editorials built a compelling factual and political case for the United States to end its 50­-year-­old policy of confrontation with Cuba. Published simultaneously in Spanish and English, the editorials argued forcefully that engagement would promote the transformation of Cuba into a more open and prosperous society, and that it would invigorate independent journalism.

Watch the 77th Annual Maria Moors Cabot Prizes Ceremony

How to Enter

Who is eligible?

Any journalist and/or news executive who works for any news organization based in the Western Hemisphere or any press association or news service that serves such an organization; other individuals, including freelance journalists, with a long record of reporting on the region; all media platforms, including online publications.

The Cabot Prizes Board, comprised of journalists and educators concerned with hemisphere affairs, will judge the entries. The Trustees of Columbia University, on the recommendation of the dean, will choose the winners. The honorees are announced in the summer and will receive a Cabot medal and $5,000 honorarium. Special citations may also be awarded. As of 2016, 284 Cabot gold medals and 60 special citations have been conferred.

What makes a Cabot winner?

The Cabot Prizes Board looks for exceptional and courageous reporting that impacts society, and evidence of commitment to important stories over the course of a long and distinguished career. They are particularly interested in hearing about journalists and news organizations that have made a sustained contribution to Inter-­American understanding through their coverage of the Americas. The board also seeks to honor journalists who have taken active roles in upholding freedom of the press in the Americas. Although awards have been given to publishers and other managers, the board is especially interested in honoring individual journalists.


Supported document types include .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .jpg, .xls. Supporting digital presentations can be sent as links.

Please upload each of the following items and provide working links for digital presentations:

Nominee’s biography and/or CV listing education, journalistic experience and public service, with dates.

A statement or nomination letter describing how the nominee has contributed towards international understanding in the Western Hemisphere.

Career highlights, examples of work: At least five but no more than ten (without prior authorization) print articles, books, television or radio programs or online stories that best represent the nominee’s career, or body of work. Curate the stories or reporting that shows strengths over time.

Please provide working direct links to any media.

Individuals may nominate themselves.

Nominations must be signed by the person submitting it.

Two to three letters from third parties that explain why the nominee is especially deserving of the prize are also welcome. Supporting material such as books will not be returned.

If you know a journalist or media organization that deserves to be recognized, please submit the completed nomination form and pertinent material. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Como participar

Formulário de premiação 2016

Este prêmio é concedido a jornalistas que, em seu trabalho, e ao longo de sua carreira, têm contribuído a promover um maior entendimento pan­regional no continente Americano.

Nos convidamos você a participar das premiações de candidatos/as para o Prêmio Cabot, o prêmio mais antigo do jornalismo internacional. Os Prêmios Cabot, são concedidos para coberturas de excelência sobre a América Latina e o Caribe pelos/as melhores jornalistas no hemisfério ocidental.

Favor subir todos os documentos no formulário antes do prazo de entrega no 16 de março.

Quem pode ser premiado?

  • Qualquer jornalista e/ou executivo/a que trabalha para uma empresa de mídia nas Américas, ou qualquer associação de imprensa, serviço ou agência de notícias que desenvolva um trabalho profissional para este tipo de organização;
  • Jornalistas freelance que levam uma grande parte da sua carreira cobrindo a região;
  • Mídia, qualquer seja sua contribuição, incluindo as publicações na internet e dos/as blogueiros/as.

O encarregado de estudar as premiações será um comitê de seleção composto por jornalistas e acadêmicos/as especializados sobre América Latina, sob a direção do decano da Faculdade de jornalismo da Universidade de Columbia. Os prêmios serão concedidos por os membros do conselho de administração da Universidade de Columbia de acordo com as recomendações do decano. Os nomes dos premiados serão anunciados no mês de setembro, quando se realizará uma celebração em sua homenagem no mês de setembro ou outubro no Campus da Universidade em Nova York. Os prêmios consistem em uma medalha Cabot, além de 5,000 dólares.

Desde a criação do prêmio em 1938, foi recebido por 281 jornalistas provenientes do Caribe, América Latina, Canadá, Estados Unidos e outros países. A eles se somam outros 59 jornalistas ou grupos de jornalistas distinguidos com menções especiais.

O comitê de seleção busca o quê?

Buscamos exemplos excepcionais do jornalismo realizados por profissionais que tenham provado um compromisso inequívoca na hora de realizar reportagens mais importantes da região ao longo da sua carreira profissional. O comitê e o decano têm um interesse especial em descobrir jornalistas e mídia que têm contribuído de forma séria e sustentável, ao entendimento inter­americano através da sua cobertura sobre as Américas. Também estão interessados em premiar aqueles jornalistas que têm participado de forma ativa na defesa da liberdade da imprensa nas Américas. Apesar do fato de que o prêmio já foi concedido a diretores de redações e outros candidatos em posições executivas, o comitê prefere premiar o trabalho dos jornalistas individuais.

Informação sobre as premiações

Se você conhece um jornalista ou uma organização que mereça ser reconhecido/a com um prêmio Cabot, envie­nos um formulário junto com o material correspondente.

Como indicado abaixo, os materiais devem estar formatados em arquivo .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .jpg, .xls.

  • CV do candidato, deve apresentar a sua formação acadêmica, sua experiência jornalística e seu serviço público com as datas correspondentes.
  • Uma declaração que descreve qual é a contribuição que fez o candidato para melhorar as relações entre as Américas através de seu trabalho.
  • Pelo menos cinco mas não mais que dez (sem autorização prévia) artigos de jornal ou revistas que servem como representação do trabalho do candidato. Recomenda­se a apresentação das versões para impressão em papel tamanho carta normal.
  • Para as entradas das transmissões de vídeo e de radio favor de apresentar os links com as senhas se aplicável. Os links devem ficar disponîveis até novembro de 2016.
  • Duas ou três cartas de recomendação que explicam porque o candidato merece ser premiado.


O prazo de entrega é o dia 16 de março. Não serão aceitas candidaturas incompletas.

**Se você já foi contactado com respeito a uma nomeação anterior que vai ser considerada para o 2016, favor de carregar exemplos de reportagens recentes através do formulário de candidatura.**

Como entrar

Formulario de Nominación 2016

Se entrega este premio a periodistas que, a través de la constancia en su trabajo a lo largo de su carrera, han contribuido a mejorar las relaciones en el continente americano y a fomentar un mayor entendimiento panregional.

Le invitamos a participar en las nominaciones de candidatos para el premio Cabot, el premio más antiguo al periodismo internacional.

Favor de llenar el formulario de nominación antes de la fecha límite del 16 de marzo. Es imprescindible tener en cuenta que los materiales deben ser subido antes del 16 de marzo, dado que esta fecha es impostergable.

¿Quién puede ser nominado?

  • Cualquier periodista y/o ejecutivo que trabaje para una empresa de medios en las Américas, o cualquier asociación de prensa, servicio o agencia de noticias que desarrolle una labor profesional para este tipo de organización;
  • Periodistas freelance que lleven gran parte de su carrera cubriendo la región;
  • Medios, cualquiera sea su aporte, incluyendo las publicaciones en Internet y los blogueros.

El encargado de estudiar las nominaciones será un comité de selección compuesto por periodistas y académicos especializados en América Latina, bajo la dirección del decano de la Facultad de Periodismo de la Universidad de Columbia. Los premios son otorgados por los miembros del consejo de administración de la Universidad de Columbia, según las recomendaciones del decano. Los nombres de los galardonados se anuncian en el mes de septiembre y se celebra una ceremonia en su honor en el mes de septiembre u octubre en el campus de la universidad, en Nueva York. Los premios consisten en una medalla Cabot, además de 5.000 dólares.

Desde la creación del premio en 1938, lo han recibido 281 periodistas provenientes del Caribe, América Latina, Canadá, Estados Unidos y otros países. A ellos se suman otros 59 periodistas o grupos de periodistas distinguidos con menciones especiales.

¿Qué es lo que busca el comité de selección?

Se buscan ejemplos excepcionales de periodismo realizados por profesionales que hayan demostrado un compromiso inequívoco a la hora de cubrir las historias más importantes de la región a lo largo de su carrera profesional. El comité y el decano tienen un especial interés en descubrir periodistas y medios que hayan contribuido, de manera seria y sostenida, al entendimiento interamericano a través de su cobertura de las Américas. También están interesados en galardonar a aquellos periodistas que hayan participado de manera activa en la defensa de la libertad de prensa en las Américas. Aunque se han otorgado premios a directores de diarios y otros candidatos en cargos ejecutivos, el comité se inclina por premiar el trabajo de los periodistas individuales.

Información sobre las nominaciones

Si conoce un periodista o una organización que merezca ser reconocido/a con un premio Cabot, envíenos un formulario junto con el material correspondiente.

Tal como se indica más adelante, los documentos suplementarios deberán presentar en formateados como .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .jpg, .xls.

  • Todos los documentos enumerados a continuación en el formato adequado.
  • CV del postulante, que deberá detallar su formación académica, su experiencia periodística y su servicio público con las fechas correspondientes
  • Una declaración que describa cuál es el aporte que ha hecho el candidato para mejorar la relación entre las Américas a través de su trabajo
  • Al menos cinco pero no más de diez (sin autorización previa) artículos de diarios o revistas que sean representativos del trabajo del candidato. Se recomienda la presentación de versiones para impresión en papel tamaño carta estándar.
  • Para las entradas de vídeo y radio favor de incluir los links con las contraseñas apropriadas. Los links deberán permancer disponibles en línea hasta noviembre del 2016.
  • Dos o tres cartas de recomendación que expliquen por qué el candidato merece ser nominado.


La fecha límite es el 16 de marzo. No serán tenidas en cuenta las postulaciones incompletas.

**Si usted ha sido contactado respecto a una nominación anterior que será considerada para el 2016, por favor suba ejemplos de artículos o reportajes recientes a través del formulario de nominación.**


Lauren Meregildo­-Santos, Program Coordinator, Prizes

Sign up for the Columbia Journalism Awards quarterly newsletter to receive information on prize open and close dates, entry requirements, and prize winners. Our newsletter is the best way to stay in the know on all things related to the journalism awards at Columbia University.