Radio Ambulante's Daniel Alarcón Receives Prestigious MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Alarcón's extensive accomplishments, deep commitment to storytelling, and passion for journalism have been evident throughout his career.

Radio Ambulante's Daniel Alarcón Receives Prestigious MacArthur 'Genius Grant'

Hugo Rojo/NPR
Hosted by Peruvian-American novelist Daniel Alarcón, Radio Ambulante is a Spanish-language podcast that uses long-form audio journalism to tell important but neglected and under-reported Latin American and Latino stories
Hugo Rojo/NPR

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Daniel Alarcon

Radio Ambulante

#MacFellow

September 28, 2021; Washington, D.C. — Daniel Alarcón, host of NPR's Radio Ambulante podcast, has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a prestigious MacArthur "Genius Grant," awarded annually to talented individuals who have shown exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits. Alarcón's extensive accomplishments, deep commitment to storytelling, and passion for journalism have been evident throughout his career.

Per the MacArthur foundation's note: "Daniel Alarcón is a writer and radio producer exploring the social, cultural, and linguistic ties that connect people across Latin America and Spanish-speaking communities in the Americas. His powerful narrative storytelling—in English and Spanish, fiction and nonfiction, print and audio—chronicles individual lives and underreported topics against the backdrop of broader geopolitical and historical forces in the United States and Central and South America."

"It's an honor for NPR to distribute Radio Ambulante and to join Daniel in elevating public radio's long-form journalism for Spanish-speaking audiences," said NPR President and CEO John Lansing in a note to staff.

"When I shifted a lot of my energy and focus to reporting in Spanish on Latin America and U.S. Latinx communities, I did so assuming that I'd never be in the conversation for a prize like this," Alarcón said. "I'm stunned and immensely proud of this recognition."

"I'm so thrilled the MacArthur Foundation has recognized Daniel Alarcón for his enormous vision and creativity," says NPR SVP for programming Anya Grundmann. "As a journalist, novelist, teacher and audio storyteller, he imagines worlds and conjures them into reality. The pioneering podcast Radio Ambulante is just one extraordinary example of the work the award will support."

Alarcón joins past public radio affiliated MacArthur fellows including Bill Siemering 1993; David Isay 2000; and Jad Abumrad 2011: Each has taken radio journalism in new directions, meeting the needs of new audiences and reaching new levels of excellence.

More information about the MacArthur Fellowships and this year's fellows

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About Radio Ambulante

Radio Ambulante's mission is to bring greater understanding of Latin American and U.S. Latinx communities through well-told, rigorously reported, and expertly produced audio journalism, offering audiences a nuanced portrait of a complex and vitally important region.

Since its launch in 2012, Radio Ambulante has produced more than 200 episodes from over 20 different countries. Radio Ambulante has been recognized with several awards, including the 2014 Gabriel García Márquez Award for Innovation in Journalism ― the most prestigious journalism prize in Latin America ― the 2017 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Best Foreign Language Documentary Award for this episode (with English subtitles), and the 2020 iHeart Radio Award for Best Spanish Language Podcast. Its audience has grown to almost 6 million downloads a year.

Radio Ambulante comprises more than twenty five full-time journalists, editors, producers, fact-checkers, and sound designers representing more than ten different nationalities, with different gender identities, ethnicities, age ranges, creeds, and professional backgrounds. The team reports on Latin America from a place of knowledge and curiosity, for a global audience that is diverse, young, and sophisticated.

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NPR: Isabel Lara ilara@npr.org