NAHJ Panel: Galápagos: Challenges for the Evolution of Journalism in the Islands Darwin Made Famous

Event Date: 
October 22, 2011

National Association of Hispanic Journalists Panel at SEJ's 21st Annual Conference in Miami

Panel Description: The Galápagos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s last Edens, now stand at a critical crossroad: to join a head-on collision with 21st Century development values — or to educate its residents how to conserve the rich biodiversity that makes the archipelago so famous. This panel of Latino journalists, including residents of the archipelago, will explore the need to create professional and uncensored media outlets and help Galapagueños become better informed about what’s at stake: increasing threats to the islands’ unique wildlife and other natural resources; a tsunami of tourists; a surge in local population without sufficient infrastructure; the introduction of invasive species, and tighter government controls in recent years over press freedom.

When: Saturday, Oct 22, 2011, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Who: Open to SEJ conference attendees and NAHJ members only.

Where: Sandringham Room, InterContinental Hotel Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza


  • Cecilia Alvear, panel moderator, is former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and a veteran NBC Network News Producer. She has covered such issues as the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s, presidential elections and protests in Argentina and Chile, and the war on drugs in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Twice she interviewed Fidel Castro in Cuba. Alvear is a board member of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., an alliance of the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.  A native Galapagueña, she edits the website, “Galápagos Digital: Preserving a World Treasure.” Alvear is a former recipient of the prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.
  • Carol Ann Bassett, co-moderator, is the author of three books, including Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution (a finalist for the 2011 Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction). Bassett spent 16 years as a full-time freelance writer, contributing regularly to The New York Times and Time-Life, Inc.,and was an independent producer for National Public Radio. Her work has also appeared in The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Mother Jones, and dozens of other national publications. She teaches environmental writing and literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon, and led a Study Abroad Program on environmental writing in the Galápagos for three summers.


  • Paula Tagle Saad is a naturalist guide who lives on Santa Cruz Island and writes a weekly column, “Desde Las Encantadas,” for the daily newspaper El Universo, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Ms. Tagle holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Geology. She started the "Kids on board program" together with Lindblad Expeditions and the Charles Darwin Research station to invite 30 Galápagos kids per month to the Lindblad ships, for half a day, for excursions and talks about the uniqueness of their home islands. She is the author of Galápagos Bedtime Stories, a book about the natural history of Galápagos for kids and kids at heart.
  • *Xavier Castro is a Public Information Officer for the Government of Galápagos. He is about to launch a website, “Galápagos Herald.” Mr. Castro has a degree in journalism and communications from Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia del Ecuador.
  • *Enrique Ramos worked as the Coordinator of Participation for the world famous Charles Darwin Foundation. He is now editor of El Colono, a Galápagos newspaper published twice a month and distributed to populated areas of the archipelago. Mr. Ramos is currently upgrading the digital version of El Colono.
  • *Carlos Macías is the Galápagos correspondent for Teleamazonas, a TV station in the Ecuadorian mainland. He is the President of the Colegio de Periodistas de Galápagos. He also works for the Communications Dept. of the Government of Galápagos.

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