Cabot Prize Dada´s Speech

Columbia University , NY , Oct 26th , 2011

Columbia University , NY , Oct 26th , 2011

Anger, curiosity and hope
By Carlos Dada,Posted on October 27, 2011
This is the speech that the editorial director of El Faro, Carlos Dada, spoke Wednesday night at Columbia University, New York, during the award ceremony of the Maria Moors Cabot:

“It’s an honor to be here tonight, in a place that has seen extraordinary people speak after receiving a distinction as the Maria Moors Cabot Prize.

I come from a small Central American country that we have done our own center of the universe, which used to be on the front pages around the world during the eighties, when we suffer a bloody civil war that some historians marked the last battle of theCold War. A whole generation of journalists from the United States and Europe began his career in El Salvador, but then, of course, what happened in Central America cared much of the world.

Two decades have passed since then, and you have not had hear much about us. Let me tell you briefly what is happening there: We changed to live with political violence to live with a social and criminal violence. Now, officially, is supposed to live in peace. But in reality, Central America is the world’s most violent region, with weak institutions, a large gap of inequality, many weapons, rampant corruption and the rapid and widespread penetration of another form of organized crime: drug cartels. Of course, there is another way of looking at this situation: a place full of stories. Of stories that deserve to be told.

For almost 14 years, Jorge Siman and I embarked on an adventure. We wanted to provide independent journalism and treat our readers as intelligent people. But in 1998 was, at best, an adventure around, and not very promising. We were born on the Internet in a country where less than two percent of the population had access to the network at that time. Even in our best projections could imagine that I would be here tonight. And would not be here without sacrifices, commitment and passion of a group of talented journalists and technicians who have walked with me where we are today. A group of people who share the view that independent journalism is important and that have demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice much to keep alive this vision.

My job, our work stems from anger, curiosity and hope. Outrage poverty, corruption, violence, abuse of power, inequality, impunity … Curious to understand, and hope that our world can be a better place for everyone.

It is worth noting that even when we are the deans of online journalism in Latin America, we are what we are by our content, because we practice newspaper of the classic way. The discussions in our newsroom deal more with sources, fact checking, accuracy and fairness in a story with anything else. The technology is the means, but the content is the meaning.

Independent journalism is not, of course, a practice welcomed by everyone. Some politicians and business people see us as an uncomfortable rate band strangers who just do not understand how the system works. And worse than that, we are actually trying to understand how it works.

In a fragile society like ours, with such violence, corruption and poverty, our hope is that good journalism can help our readers make better decisions in their lives and in public life, empowering citizens and push them to become agents of change toward a more just, more peaceful and happier.

Probably in our pages do not find who was killed yesterday, but maybe, if you give us some time, we might be able to tell why so many people are being killed in our part of the world. Or explain how drug cartels are entering our countries, how to take advantage of corrupt officials and institutions, how they build schools and clinics that a country without resources can not build.

Or how natural reserve lands into the hands of public officials, or how gangs became the boys in the neighborhood complex criminal organizations.

I want to thank Columbia University, its School of Journalism and the Committee of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for encouraging us through this high distinction, to continue this journey.

To our friends and organizations that have kept us alive, I hope, tonight, that this recognition confirms that they were not wrong.

For our families, who pay the highest price for what we do, I hope this helps convince them that their sacrifice is worth it.

And to our readers, let me now send a message: we will not stop. Thank you very much. “



2 thoughts on “Cabot Prize Dada´s Speech

  1. Indignation, curiosity and hope. by Moises Gonzalez

    Hi everyone , I am going to write my impressions about the speech, I am no expert on it,but i am a humble citizen concerned about what happens in our country and an admirer of El Faro newspaper.
    The introduction was outstanding, It shows recognition for the other journalists, there are also journalists of great quality.
    The introduction saying Central America to an international audience was great too , many do not know which is “El Salvador”, but when they hear Central America they are located on the map.

    Remember Civil War was good as well , make a comparison like “the last battle of the Cold War” brought attention to El Salvador concerning to two important strategic powers in a while, but not important at this moment anymore for that issue ( The Cold War )

    The historical review was excellent, I think it speaks to the world of reality, cruel in somehow, because either way, tell to the world that El Salvador is living in social and criminal violence sounds like your house is not right, or even not very well, sounds like severe crisis, what about the “world’s most violent region” ? well, to be honestly with all of you I read this speech today at 04:40 AM , and I felt in shock and I ask for myself , Is what Carlos said in the speech my country reality ? Is El Salvador really full of Drug cartels, organized crime, gangs, weak institutions, inequality and corruption ? We see it every day and it’s like we are getting used to see it, but thanks Carlos you were able to mention it , I guess that was cruel , cruel about our country, but at the same time awakens us to fall into our reality , but we can move to make a change and influence others to do something .

    On the other hand , I think it was great you mentioned all your team, you have not been alone even if you are the leader, but you could not have done all this success without help.
    Thanks for mentioning the reasons for your work and your whole team, Outrage, curiosity and hope. I believe that each of us must find a reason to fight for and try to influence others, thanks again.

    It’s good to know that information published in El Faro is deeply discussed with the editors and is disputed if the sources of information are trustable or not , at least gives us the certainty that what we read is not published at random and we can rely on.

    Is my completely assurance you are doing a lot of people agents of change only with the information you publish, using the gift God has given you, which is the ability of writing .

    Please stop one moment, think twice having received the Maria Moors Cabot , this will you agree to continue writing with responsibility, truthfulness and will make you a better person.

    The typical speech about El Salvador abroad is “El Salvador, example of progress and opportunity, freedom and good governance”, but we all know that is not true, then again, thanks Carlos for telling the world exactly what it is happening here in what Salvadoran families are worry about .

    I hope not to offend anyone with this note. Happy day to everybody, God bless El Salvador .

    Posted by English Goes | October 28, 2011, 8:39 am
  2. “Probably in our pages do not find who was killed yesterday, but maybe, if you give us some time, we might be able to tell why so many people are being killed in our part of the world”
    I agree with this… maybe we don’t care who died today (unfortunately that’s normal in our society) we already know that people is being killed every day…maybe we’re tired of that and now… need to know what’s the reason of such violence, why?
    I’ve never heard about Carlos Dada (I must be sincere) but after I read this. I Knew that there’s journalists who really care about tell the truth, and now I’ll consider “El Faro” as an important information source.

    Posted by Jonathan | October 31, 2011, 7:54 pm

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