Journalists echo ‘Untold Stories’ from South America

The School of Communication’s Common Ground Courtyard echoed with the stories of the “voiceless” from Paraguay, Argentina and Peru Thursday.

As part of a panel discussion titled “South America: Untold Stories,” four journalists spoke of the under-represented social, political and economic concerns plaguing the continent to about 100 students and faculty.

“As one of the cities closest to Latin America, we hope that these stories will resonate [in Miami] the most,” said Jon Sawyer, executive director of the not-for-profit Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The event is the first of a series of initiatives by the new Knight Center for International Media.

“We always have a concern about the way stories about Latin America are reported in the developed world, including the U.S.,” said Leonardo Ferreira, director of Graduate Studies at the SoC. “Latin Americans and many observers are unhappy about the way stories are told and even unhappier of stories that are untold.”

One of the panelists, Gabrielle Weiss, an international photojournalist and videographer, presented a clip of her documentary on Argentina’s Ghost Train. The film studies the social conflict between the cartoneros, or “trash collectors,” of Buenos Aires and the local government that aims to close down the train that serves as their main source of transportation.

Several members of the audience said her message resonated.

“As a Cuban immigrant, I understand their struggles,” Esperanza Camacho, a UNICCO worker, said with tears in her eyes. “I hope that this powerful message about the problems of people in Latin America helps students to think more about humanity and less about materialism.”

Other members of the audience said the stories raised their awareness of social injustice and poverty.

“It’s incredible how so many people’s lives are affected by issues that we would have never thought of,” Ligia Vidal, a senior, said. “Imagine just how many more stories, like these, are waiting to be covered by a new generation of young journalists.”

Joanna Suarez may be contacted at j.suarez15