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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Ten winners to receive the first Google-Knight Center Fellowship



Ten participants of the recent Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) “Development of Journalistic Projects for the Web” were selected to receive the first Google-Knight Center Fellowship. The winners have been invited to participate in two digital journalism conferences that the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas will host in April in Austin, Texas.

The Knight Center received more than 230 applications and, originally, planned to award six fellowships. However, the application process was so competitive that the Knight Center and Google decided to increase the number of fellowships to ten.

The selected winners come from six different Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America and developed journalistic projects on different topics. They are:

  • Álvaro Vildoza - Transeúntes (La Plata, Argentina): Multimedia blog focused on writing about local entrepreneurship, creative individuals and emerging social movements.
  • Andrea Paz Medina - Integrados Chile (Santiago, Chile): Social inclusion website with information for persons with disabilities.
  • Clarissa Lizzette Victorio - Revista Focus (Lima, Peru): Website covering entrepreneurship and focused on young audiences. Written by students and recent graduates of degrees like business management.
  • Darío Esteban Drucaroff - Argenieros (Buenos Aires, Argentina): News site for and about engineers in Argentina.
  • Emanuel Vilte - Linguoo (Cordoba, Argentina): Platform where narrators read and record written articles and publish them as audio files.
  • Luis Antonio Cardona - Diario 19 (Mexico City, Mexico): News website aiming to provide work for journalists displaced by violence in Mexico.
  • Luis Felipe Brito - Letras Explícitas (Mexico City, México): Online weekly covering rock and independent literature.
  • María Virginia Portillo - Comida Blog (Heredia, Costa Rica): Website with recipes and culinary tips aimed at helping readers eat better.
  • Ignacio Medina - Igabe Noticias (Oaxaca, Mexico): Investigative journalism focused on covering the indigenous people of the Mixtec region in the state of Oaxaca.
  • Viviana Bermudez Herrera - Radio Macondo (Cali, Colombia): Independent radio station focused on promoting culture and critical thought.

To make their selection, the Knight Center and Google looked for candidates that had fulfilled all of the MOOC's requirements, shown that the course had helped them develop their projects and had ideas with a high potential for implementation. The ten Fellow's projects were also chosen for their originality and/or the service they seek to provide to their communities.

"We are very happy with the ten Fellows we have selected. Our group of winners represents the passion and originality that, with the right tools and knowledge, can lead to the creation of solid journalistic projects in Spanish," said Professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. "With this fellowship, we hope to encourage the creation of more web contents and promote quality, sustainable journalism in Spanish."

“This project began in response to a problem that worried us: the lack of Spanish content on the Internet. Despite the fact that Spanish, with 165 million speakers, is one of the most spoken languages on the planet, its presence on the Internet is not reflective of that,” said Florencia Bianco, director of corporate communications at Google Hispanoamerica.

“Together with the Knight Center, we built this MOOC, “Development of Journalistic Projects for the Web”, as a class to inspire and contribute to a generation of sustainable, journalistic knowledge,” said Bianco. “We hope that not only the winners but also the more than 5000 participants in the MOOC, will help foster the culture and diffusion of the language, democratizing access of information and opening new economic opportunities for Spanish-speaking countries.”

Thanks to Google's support, the Knight Center offered the Google-Knight Center Fellowship, which will consist on an all-expenses-paid trip to Austin, Texas to participate in two conferences organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: the 15th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) and the Ibero American Colloquium on Digital Journalism. ISOJ will take place on April 4 and 5, and the Colloquium on April 6.

The fellowship was offered to students from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America who participated in the MOOC "Development of Journalistic Projects for the Web," with renowned journalism instructor Janine Warner. The course concluded on Dec. 15 after having attracted 5,266 students from 50 countries. It was the Knight Center's must successful course up to that moment. 

"In a perfect world, we would invite every one of the MOOC's more than 5,000 students to Austin, Texas," Warner said. "In a perfect world, we would have much more Spanish content on the web. But it's not a perfect world, and that's why we need more creative, courageous and entrepreneurial journalists. All of them have inspired me."

The five-week MOOC sought to help participants launch or improve sustainable online journalism projects and covered technical and business aspects that have been ignored by most traditional journalism training programs.

Google is a world-leading technology firm dedicated to improve the ways in which people connect with information. Google's innovations in Internet search and advertising have made its website one of the main products online and its brand one of the most recognizable in the world.  

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is an international leader in online training for journalists. The Center was created in 2002 in the University of Texas at Austin thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. SInce it launched its pioneering Distance Learning program, the Knight Center has trained more than 7,000 journalists across all Spanish-speaking countries and offered more than 100 regular online courses. In 2012 the Center launched the first journalim Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the world. Since then, the Knight Center's MOOCs have reached more than 27,000 participants in 150 countries.



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