Knight Center
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KNIGHT CENTER NEWS

Colombian Journalists Collectively Publish Story that Brought Death Threats to a Colleague


Germán Hernández, a member of a recently formed group of investigative journalists, received seven death threats on his cell phone this year, forcing him to leave his job at the newspaper Diario del Huila. He believes the anonymous warnings were linked to a series of five articles his paper had published between December 2005 and February 2007 about corruption at a local hospital.

But the story was not abandoned after Hernández moved from Neiva, 200 miles (326 km) southwest of Bogotá, to an undisclosed place. A coalition of journalists and media revived the “Manizales Project,” a collaborative effort to defend press freedom.

El Proyecto Manizales is a coalition of local and national media created in 2002 to investigate the killing of journalist Orlando Sierra, an editor of the newspaper of La Patria de Manizales, in the city of Caldas. In 2005 the project was revived to continue the investigations that had resulted in the assassination of journalist Guillermo Bravo.

This year, members of the Manizales Project worked with Hernandéz to help him complete his reporting. The resulting story, “What’s Hidden in Huila?” appeared simultaneously this week in several local and national publications, including:

Diario del Huila
El Nuevo Día
La Patria
El Espectador
Cambio
Semana
El Tiempo

Hernández is a member of the “Newsroom Council: an Investigative Journalism Network” created in February 2007during a two-day training workshop in Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) sponsored by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, and taught by Lise Olsen of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).




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