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Environmental Media Awards

2006 Reuters-IUCN Environmental Media Award goes to Marina Walker Guevara for “The children of lead”

Nairobi, Kenya, 14 November 2006 (Reuters/IUCN) – The 2006 Reuters-IUCN Media Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting goes to Marina Walker Guevara of Argentina for her story “The children of lead” (Los niňos del plomo). At the Global Awards Ceremony held today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Walker Guevara was presented with the USD 5,000 prize.

“The children of lead” (Los Niňos del Plomo) forRevista GatoPardo brings to life the moving story of Mischell Barzola, a six year-old girl from La Oroya, Peru, who has stopped growing because of lead contamination. Meticulously researched and balanced, "Los Niños del Plomo" shows the dilemma of the 4,000 families whose livelihoods depend on the lead industry, even though it threatens the health of their own children.

Walker Guevara’s article was selected by a Global Master Jury which considered six articles, representing Latin America, North America and Oceania, Europe, Asia, English-speaking Africa and the Middle East, and French-speaking Africa. The other five finalists, who were present at the ceremony, received trophies and certificates.

Presenting the awards,Australian Senator and IUCN Vice President, Christine Milne said the competition highlights stories that analyze the world’s most pressing environmental problems, while presenting solutions for a more sustainable future.

“Through this prize, Reuters and IUCN challenge journalists to report on the complex issues of environmental degradation and its impacts on human well-being. It encourages the media to look beyond the headlines to provide information and provoke action,” Senator Milne said.

This year’s six regional winning articles addressed some of the world’s environmental threats: water scarcity and the different solutions in China, Australia and Palestine, climate change, the poverty-conservation conflict amongst the Pygmies in Congo, the hazards of ruthless tourism expansion, and the dilemma of a Peruvian village that makes its living from a metal smelter which contaminates its children.

Walker Guevara currently works as a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative reporting organization in Washington, DC. For the past 12 years, she has written for newspapers and magazines in Argentina and the United States on issues ranging from public health and the environment to courts and education.

In 2005, Walker Guevara won the Missouri Press Association Investigative Reporting Award (small newspapers); in March 2006 she was awarded the European Commission Lorenzo Natali Award for Human Rights Reporting (Latin America and the Caribbean region).

After graduating at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina and the University of Missouri, Walker Guevara began her career at a radio station in her hometown of Mendoza, in Argentina, and as a reporter at Los Andes, a regional newspaper. The story "Los niños del plomo" was published in Gatopardo, a leading Colombian magazine read throughout Latin America.

The Awards, established in 1998 by Reuters Foundation and IUCN, aim to raise global awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues by encouraging high standards in environmental reporting worldwide.


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