“The profession of journalism is a quixotic task. If a writer, a journalist, would not serve his fellows, he will do well to throw his pen into the fire.” Juan Montalvo, Ecuadorian writer, essayist (1832-1889).
The National Confederation of Journalists, New York chapter, homaged Ecuadorian journalism in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). Here, journalists have developed diverse fields such as radio, written press, audiovisual media, photography, digital platforms, and alternative media.
Among the participants, there were the Consul of Ecuador in Queens-New York, Lc, Maritza Mora, the honorary members of the confederation, Dr. Pablo Villacis, journalist and director Ciudadanía Informada, Dr. Hector Geager, international lecturer at Columbia University New York, Dr. Monica Sarmiento, Associate Professor of St. Thomas, and the President of Bi/coa Base Iberoamericana/ Comunidades de las dos Américas. The special guests were the following: Erasmo Chala’s, Secretario General del Colegio Dominicano de Prensa en New York, and Lic, Miguelina Rodríguez, leading a delegation from the television program “Detente New York and Sandra Pelaez, an Ecuadorian writer and journalist, a key speaker.
Rafael Rodríguez, President of the Ecuadorian Journalists’ Association in New York, thanked each of the media present for their message. He said: “It is not healthy to be allied with any government from any source, because later it can bring us consequences and certain inconveniences or possible reprisals. It’s better to be outside their interests because it can compromise or even gag our journalistic thought. We pay tribute to the press and alternative media, without devaluing, in any way, our traditional press, which has been playing a fundamental role in providing information.
Today, more than ever, society needs our capability of denouncing what the big media never do for whatever reasons.”
He first quoted the Colombian journalist Xavier Darío Restrepo, who died recently, and who was considered the father of journalistic ethics.
He said, “It is not enough to say with a full voice, I am moral, I am honest, but to demonstrate that you are, because morals and ethics are what we do and say every day and at every moment “or as our honorary life partner Lic. Gilberto Crespo Crespo, that emblematic phrase of Juan Montalvo “If a writer, a journalist would not serve his fellows, he will do well to throw his pen into the fire.” Then he also quoted the writer Gabriel García Márquez who said, “Journalism, the journalist’s job, is one of the most beautiful professions in the world.”
The writer Sandra Peláez, alluding to the commemoration of the Ecuadorian journalist’s day, referred to the role of women in journalism.
“Journalism is a science and professional activity that in general terms consists of obtaining, processing, interpreting, writing, disseminating and informing through the media, radio, press, Internet with the main purpose of providing citizens with truthful and timely information to so he can assert their rights. It is a science that merges the collection, verification, synthesis, clarification of information accredited as relevant and true to selflessly serve the citizens’ interest in their need for accurate monitoring on issues of public interest that potentially could affect their lives.”
How heavy is this noble mission! Holding a microphone or typing the keyboard, we affect the lives of those who read, listen, or watch us. Every time we write a story, a column, a commentary, or an article, we edit it hundreds of times before finishing it. We do it not because we are insecure, but because we safeguard in our chests the oath of passion and ethics to bring to the public the information that will affect their actions. We influence colleagues, to the point of provoking deep feelings that will lead to the individual’s response. We are influential, and we are the least public but the most powerful influencers.
We do not wear a uniform. We should not even carry a flag. We should work in white from white paper to white walls, a white chair, a white pencil, a white soul. Journalism was not created to boost egos. It was created to put light on the sore spot.
In Ecuador with the inspiration of a reformer, Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo, on January 5, 1792, and with the first newspaper “Primicias de la Cultura de Quito” (First Fruits of the Culture of Quito), journalism was born in a revolutionary environment. In 1809, the Gaceta de la Corte de Quito (Court Gazette) appeared, whose objective was to publish the government acts of the General Board, loyal to the King of Spain.
Since its beginnings, women’s journalism has the name and surname of Zoila Ugarte de Landívar, the first Ecuadorian writer and journalist, suffragist, editor, and director of the newspaper La Prensa, founder of the magazine La Mujer, and director of the National Library.
She referred to the role of the indigenous woman Rosa Elena Tránsito Amaguana, an activist and leader who was awarded the Eugenio Espejo prize. Even though she was an indigenous woman, illiterate, mistreated, and immersed in poverty, She left the mark of her voice inscribed in indigenous trade unionism when the Ecuadorian Federation of Indians was taken over in 1944.
Dolores Cacuango, an indigenous activist, pioneer in the field of the struggle for the rights of indigenous people and peasants in Ecuador, who also founded the Ecuadorian Federation of the Indians in 1944.
“Among journalists and activists something resonates, it is the passion to leave that mark, their voice, their existence that was not in vain, that made women like me think that life is worth writing, singing, and existing, but it is not easy. Journalism demands ethics and vocation. It demands total dedication and to feel comfortable writing the uncomfortable”.
The musical environment of Andean melodies was set by K’Jachamallku Inti Paucar, Cultural Creator of Ecuador.
Afterward, the Consul, Maritza Mora the President of the CNPEN, honorary members and special guests awarded the medals and certificates; to the surprise of some when they presented the awards to Mr. Jachamallku Inti Paucar. Wellington Perez of Radio Latina 2, expressed that he does not deserve this recognition, attracting all attention. He said, “many of the people who are working in this noble mission that is journalism, are in a rather chaotic situation because we see all the needs that the Ecuadorian migrant community has abroad and no one takes that responsibility.
So what’s the use of giving me recognition, a medal. In reality, there is no journalism here in defense of Ecuadorian migrants, no press for migrants and Latin Americans. The journalists in our country don’t even know that we exist, they don’t know about the problems of migrants, they excuse me without wanting to be a bad servant, as a radio station. I don’t receive recognition, I have done absolutely nothing for my community. I ask for a thousand apologies, but I think that the work of journalists is not well done here. Rafael Rodriguez immediately took the floor, “as a confederation, and as a media, we respect your right to freedom of expression.
The ceremony closed with few words of Professor Héctor Geager of Columbia University, a toast by Dr. Mónica Sarmiento, and the traditional Ecuadorian “canelazo”, shared by Eng. Ángel Solís, and some snacks by the house.