Webinar LLILAS Knight Center - Speakers

Webinar on polarization and disinformation in Latin America



Journalism in Times of Polarization and Disinformation in Latin America

A webinar offered by the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections and Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin

November 9, 2021, 14:00 to 17:00 CST



Adela Pineda Franco

Director, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Adela Pineda Franco

Adela Pineda Franco is Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Professor in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies, and the Director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at the University of Texas at Austin. Her career as a Latin Americanist began at UT-Austin, where she obtained an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in Comparative literature. Prior to joining UT, she was Professor of Latin American Literature and Film at Boston University, where she also founded the Center of Latin American Studies.

Her understanding of Latin American Studies as a hub that integrates multiple disciplines and intellectual traditions also informs her vision as a researcher and educator. Her scholarly work situates the study of literature and film within transnational contexts and comparative, interdisciplinary frameworks, addressing the relationships between culture, politics, intellectual thought, and, more recently, technology.

Rosental Alves

Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas 

Rosental Alves

Professor Rosental Calmon Alves is the founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the School of Journalism at the Moody School of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also the holder of the UNESCO Chair in Communication and the Knight Chair in Journalism. A veteran Brazilian journalist, he moved to Austin in 1996 as the inaugural holder of the Knight Chair after a 27-year career in Brazilian journalism. He is former president of Orbicom, the worldwide network of UNESCO Chairs in Communication, and currently chairs the board of directors of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for Journalism at Columbia University. He is also a member of several boards of organizations related to journalism, such as the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Texas Tribune, the Gabo Foundation (Colombia), Agência Pública and Jornal Nexo (Brazil ) and CIPER (Chile). His three teaching and research areas at the University of Texas are international journalism, especially the work of foreign correspondents in Latin America; Latin American journalism and freedom of the press; and digital journalism.



Wendy Hunter

Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Wendy Hunter

Wendy Hunter studies comparative politics, with an emphasis on Latin American affairs. She has done in depth work on the military in Brazil and the Southern Cone, as well as research on social policy issues in Latin America, with special attention to the politics of education and health reform.  She has also published a book on the Workers' Party of Brazil. Professor Hunter currently works on issues concerning identity documentation in the developing world.  

She is the author of "The Transformation of the Workers' Party in Brazil, 1989–2009" (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and "Eroding Military Influence in Brazil: Politicians against Soldiers" (University of North Carolina Press, 1997), and has published articles in Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and World Politics.

Romina Mella

Editor-in-chief, IDL-Reporteros (Peru)

Romina Mella is editor-in-chief and investigative journalist at IDL-Reporteros, an independent investigative journalism outlet in Peru. She has specialized in covering matters related to political and corporate corruption, security agencies, organized crime, justice and human rights. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). She is also a co-founder of The Reading Show, a multimedia project that explores new narratives to bring fiction and non-fiction books closer to readers.



Isabel Mercado

Journalist (Bolivia)

Isabel Mercado

Journalist specializing in human rights. She has been a writer and editor for various media outlets. She has published several books related to journalism and human rights, such as Sala de Redacción, a practical guide to journalism and human rights (Fundación para el Periodismo, 2012); Comunicadores con arte y oficio (PADEM, 2011); ¿Y nos llaman ciudadanos? (PADEM, 2013), among others. She has also participated in books of crónicas such as La chica mala del periodismo (FES, 2012); La cabalgata sin fin (Página Siete, 2017) and Prontuario (Ed. Gente Común, 2018). She has been a columnist for various newspapers. She was editor and deputy director of Página Siete. She is a fellow of the Edward Murrow Program, USA (2019); Fellow of the Sulzberger Executive and Leadership Program at Columbia University, NYC, USA (2020). Former director of Página Siete (2021).


María Teresa Ronderos

Director, Latin American Center for Investigative Journalism - CLIP (Colombia)

María Teresa Ronderos

María Teresa Ronderos is director of the Latin American Center for Investigative Journalism (CLIP). She founded and directed VerdadAbierta.com, specializing in investigating war and peace in her native Colombia. Author of several books, the latest of which is best-seller Guerras Recicladas (2014), about the history of paramilitarism. Her investigative journalism career has been recognised with the Maria Moors Cabot (2007), the Simón Bolívar “journalist of the year” (2014) and the Ortega & Gasset (2019) awards. She serves on the boards of the Fundación Gabo, Media Defence and CPJ.



Summer Harlow

Associate Professor, University of Houston

Summer Harlow

Summer Harlow, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin), is an associate professor of journalism in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. She studies news coverage of protests and the intersections of digital media, activism, and journalism, particularly in Latin America.





Tania Montalvo

Deputy editorial director, Editorial Animal (Mexico)

Tania Montalvo

She is deputy editorial director of the Mexican media group Editorial Animal, with an audience of millions of readers with digital native media: Animal Político, Animal Gourmet and Animal MX; in addition to the first discourse verification project in Mexico, El Sabueso.

She is in charge of digital operation and content, investigations and special projects, verification, multimedia work and innovation, and contact with the audience.

She is the coordinator of the project Verificado 2018, a collaborative initiative that had the participation of more than 90 allies between national and state media, civil organizations and universities to verify the information of the Mexican election of that year. Winner of the 2018 Online Journalism Award and the 2018 World Digital Media Award.

Editor and coordinator of the report La Estafa Maestra published in 2017, which reveals the diversion of million-dollar resources from the federal government through public universities and shell companies. Winner of the Ortega y Gasset Prize for Ibero-American Journalism. Finalist for the Gabriel García Márquez Award.


Tai Nalon

Co-founder and CEO, Aos Fatos (Brazil)

Tai Nalon

Tai Nalon is co-founder and CEO of the award-winning misinformation monitoring company Aos Fatos. With over 13 years of experience in newsrooms and journalism innovation projects, she has worked for several media companies in Rio, Brasília and São Paulo, including Folha de S.Paulo, piauí, G1 and Veja, always with a focus on national politics and public policies.

Tai holds a bachelor degree in Social Communication, major journalism, from the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

She leads the team that won the 2020 Gabriel García Márquez Award on Innovation; the 2020 Digital Media LATAM for best digital project; the 2019 Claudio Weber Abramo Brazilian Data Journalism Awards on Innovation; and was a finalist of the 2019 Online Journalism Awards on General Excellence for micronewsrooms.


Laura Zommer

Executive and journalistic director, Chequeado (Argentina)

Laura Zommer

Executive and journalistic director of Chequeado, the first fact checking initiative in Latin America. Instructor with the Gabo Foundation. Board member of the International Fact-Checking Network and of Sembramedia and of the advisory council of Gênero e Número and La Silla Vacía. She has a degree in communication sciences and a lawyer, she graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). Postgraduate degree in political communication from Universidad Austral. She is a professor of right to information at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the UBA and of the Master's degrees in journalism from Universidad de San Andrés and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and a permanent contributor to the newspaper La Nación.

She was director of communication of CIPPEC from 2004 to 2012, chief of staff of the Secretariat of Internal Security of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Nation in 2003 and 2004 and worked at the newspaper La Nación as a reporter and investigator on judicial issues and corruption between 1997 and 2003. For her work as a journalist she has received a dozen distinctions, including the Gabriel García Márquez Award in the innovation category in 2015.



Teresa Correa

Associate Professor, Universidad Diego Portales (Chile)

Teresa Correa

Teresa Correa (PhD., University of Texas at Austin) is a former reporter and current associate professor and director of research center CICLOS at Universidad Diego Portales in Chile. Her research, which has been published in more than 50 journal articles and book chapters, focuses on digital inequality and media sociology.




Jennifer Ávila

Co-founder and editorial director, Contracorriente (Honduras)

Jennifer Ávila

Jennifer Avila, a Honduran journalist with 10 years of experience covering socio-environmental conflicts, gender violence, political crisis, corruption, migration and human rights in Honduras. She is co-founder and editorial director of the digital media outlet Contracorriente, which this year has obtained a special citation in the María Moors Cabot Prize and has been awarded the NED Democracy Award in 2021. In 2020, she was honored with the LASA Media Award.




César Fagoaga

General manager, Revista Factum, and President, Association of Journalists of El Salvador - APES (El Salvador)

César Fagoaga

Journalist. General Manager at Revista Factum and previously editor-in-chief. He trained as a journalist at El Faro, where he was a reporter and later editor-in-chief. He has worked at La Prensa Gráfica, as a reporter, coordinator of the Revista Séptimo Sentido and editor of the judicial section. As a freelancer, he has written for newspapers and magazines in Mexico and Spain. Since August 2021, he has been president of the Association of Journalists of El Salvador.




Cindy Regidor

Journalist and presenter, Confidencial (Nicaragua)

Cindy Regidor

Cindy Regidor is a Nicaraguan journalist and presenter with fourteen years of experience in print, television and digital media. She has a specialization in audiovisual production and a Master's degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations University for Peace.

She is currently part of the team at Confidencial and the audiovisual programs Esta Noche and Esta Semana, and editor of the Nicas Migrantes microsite within confidencial.com.ni. She is also the correspondent for France 24 Español in San José, Costa Rica, an international news channel for which she has been sent on special coverage to Guatemala and El Salvador.



Ewald Scharfenberg

Director, Armando.info (Venezuela)

Ewald Scharfenberg

Ewald Scharfenberg is a Venezuelan journalist and current director of Armando.info, a Venezuelan website focused on investigative journalism.

He was the former chief correspondent based in Caracas, Venezuela for Spanish daily newspaper El País (2012-2017). From 2006 until 2012, he was executive director of the Press and Society Institute of Venezuela (IPYS Venezuela), an NGO aimed at fostering freedom of press, access to public information and promotion of investigative journalism.

He was editor-in-chief of Revista Producto, a Venezuelan monthly that covers advertising and marketing issues (1993); director of Letra G, the Sunday magazine of El Globo daily newspaper (1991-93); and founding editor-in-chief of Revista Exceso (1988-91).  He has a degree in social communication from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (1984).

He was a member (on behalf of IPYS Venezuela) of the World Committee, International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX, a global alliance of freedom of speech monitors and advocates). He was also a correspondent in Venezuela for Reporters without Borders (1996-2006). In 2007, he received the Democracy Award, an annual trophy awarded by the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to IPYS Venezuela. He was also awarded with a special citation of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University in New York (2019).

Since 2014, he has been a jury member for the Latin American Investigative Journalism Awards (Transparency International- IPYS), and member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).