Wabash's Tim Padgett ’84 Honored for Journalistic Excellence

by Jim Amidon

July 12, 2005

Wabash College graduate Tim Padgett ’84 has been named one of four winners of the Cabot Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting on Latin America honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have demonstrated a commitment to freedom of the press and inter-American understanding.

President Lee C. Bollinger will present the prizes at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 20. Each prize-winner receives a Cabot medal and a $5,000 honorarium. News organizations that employ the winners receive bronze plaques.

Padgett, Miami and Latin America bureau chief, Time Magazine, represents the personal and professional commitment to Latin America that the Cabot Prize was intended to honor. Since 1990, first for Newsweek and now for Time, he has doggedly covered the region despite his own news organization's reduction of space for Latin American coverage.

Padgett's recent enterprise reportage has covered the migrant smuggling business, the growing use of cocaine in Latin America, the guerrilla stronghold of Cartagena del Chaira in Colombia, the crusade of the Cuban dissident Osvaldo Paya and the rise of the NAFTA generation in Mexico. His work also includes ground-breaking stories on the presidency of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Brazil's landless peasant movement, Haitian child-slavery, Latin rock stars, and Latin major league baseball stars. He has written cover stories on education and on criminal mafias in Latin America.

"The breadth of Padgett's knowledge and the gracefulness of his prose make him a worthy model for new reporters and a reminder to editors that good coverage is based on deep commitment, long experience and frequent publication," said the Cabot Prize Committee.

Padgett was an English major at Wabash and served as editor of the student newspaper The Bachelor. He is a frequent contributor on news and talk radio programs, appearing on CNBC, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and the O'Reilly Factor, to name a few.

"This year's winners are wonderful exemplars of the Cabot Prize standard — the best professional and probing journalism in the pursuit of inter-American understanding," said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school. "The Graduate School of Journalism is proud of its 67 year history of awarding these prizes, and we are proud of the winners that were selected this year."

Founded in 1938 by the late Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston as a memorial to his wife, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes are the oldest international award in journalism. The prize has been awarded 245 times, and 55 special citations have been conferred on journalists from more than 30 countries. The prizes are administered by the Graduate School of Journalism under the guidance of Josh Friedman, director of international programs at the school.

Other winners of the Cabot Prize this year include:

Miriam Leitão, reporter and columnist, O Globo, Rede Globo , and Radio CBN, Brazil, a multimedia Brazilian journalist whose reporting has been an outstanding example of explanatory journalism.

Mabel Rehnfeldt, investigative reporter, ABC Color, who has been a relentless journalistic force against corruption and abuse of power in Paraguay.

S. Lynne Walker, Mexico City bureau chief, Copley News Service, who, in more than 15 years of reporting from Mexico and Central America, has gone to extraordinary lengths to find original ways of telling the remarkable stories of ordinary people whose voices might otherwise not be heard.

A Special Citation will be awarded to La Nación of Costa Rica for outstanding work in investigative journalism that had an impact across the Americas.


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