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11/5/96

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558


Colombian journalist honored for coverage of news media

STANFORD -- Maria T. Ronderos, a Colombian journalist spending this year at Stanford University, has won the King of Spain Prize, Latin America's most prestigious journalism award, for stories related to her country's political scandals and narcotics trafficking.

Ronderos, a 1996-97 Reuter Foundation Fellow in Stanford's John S. Knight Fellowships program for journalists, is a newspaper staff writer and columnist for El Espectador, of Bogota.

She and Ernesto Cortes Fierro, a staffer for the competing newspaper El Tiempo, undertook an examination of how Colombian media have covered the corruption scandals that have rocked the Ernesto Samper administration and how they have reported on the relationships between politicians and narcotics figures.

Their three-part series, published in El Tiempo in May, found that the news coverage generated "confusion" and "disinformation," and that while extensive it overlooked vital information and left many "loose ends."

The King of Spain Prize competition is open to journalists from Spain, Portugal, and all the Spanish and Portuguese-language media of Latin America.

"This award has the same stature as the Pulitzer Prize enjoys in the U.S.," said Professor James V. Risser, director of the Knight Fellowships. "Maria's reporting demonstrated initiative and courage, in a country where journalism about politics and narcotics is difficult and risky. We're very proud of her."

Ronderos, 37, has an undergraduate degree from the University of the Andes and a master's degree from Syracuse University, both in political science. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism in Colombia and Argentina. At Stanford, she is doing research on internal conflict and violence in nations and on the role of journalism in covering conflict.

-jr-

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