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International journalism award announced in NY

September 5, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — This year’s winners of the oldest international award in journalism were announced on Thursday by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The Maria Moors Cabot Prize, founded in 1938, honors journalists who’ve covered the Western Hemisphere and furthered inter-American understanding through their reporting. The award was given to The New Yorker writer Jon Lee Anderson, documentary photographer and freelance writer Donna DeCesare, Brazilian investigative reporter Mauri Konig and Colombian newsmagazine editor-in-chief Alejandro Rubino Santos, the university said.

“The Cabot Prize has long held a special place in our mission because it recognizes courageous reporting about Latin America, often in countries where freedom of the press is far from a given and exercised at great personal risk,” Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger said.

Anderson has covered the Americas for three decades, profiling the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and covering the 2010 Haiti earthquake. DeCesare’s images have told the story of violence in Central America for years.

In Brazil, Konig has risked his life to expose human rights abuses, sex trafficking and corruption. Santos has shepherded stories that exposed illegal spying on Colombian journalists, judges and politicians.

The winners will receive medals and $5,000 each at a ceremony on Columbia’s campus on Oct. 21.

A Cuban blogger who became an international sensation for criticizing her country’s communist system will attend the ceremony to accept the medal originally awarded to her in 2009, the university said.

The Cuban government had barred Yoani Sanchez from traveling to New York in 2009 but is expected to permit her to travel this year to accept the award. Communist authorities allowed Sanchez and several lesser-known opposition figures to travel as part of landmark migration reforms that took effect in January, eliminating exit visa requirements for Cubans.