For immediate release
May 10, 2000

NPR'S "Latino USA" Wins 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award

Executive Producer & Correspondent Maria Emilia Martin Recognized for "The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz"

Series Produced by KUT Radio & The Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Washington, DC, May 10, 2000: Maria E. Martin, Executive Producer and Correspondent for National Public Radio's® Latino USA, has been selected as a winner of the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. Martin won First Prize in the category of International Radio Broadcast for her special report on human rights violations in Guatemala, "The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz." Martin is one of eleven print and broadcast journalists selected for their outstanding reporting on the problems of the disadvantaged. The awards will be presented by Mrs. Robert Kennedy and daughter Rory Kennedy this Thursday, May 11, 2000, at a ceremony at The Freedom Forum in Arlington, Virginia.

The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards honor journalists for their reporting on people living at the margins of society, such as children living in poverty, immigrant workers, victims of violence or environmental pollution, people with disabilities, and prison inmates.

In Latino USA's "The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz," Martin revealed new information from a former federal agent about the torture of a U.S. nun in Guatemala, ten years after she was kidnapped, tortured and raped by individuals she believes were members of the Guatemalan military. Sister Ortiz accused the U.S. government of suppressing knowledge about her torturers. LATINO USA's special two-part series, which aired in November 1999 on National Public Radio (NPR), reported revelations about the U.S. government's involvement with this incident and with repressive Latin American military regimes. The story is available in its entirety on Latino USA's Website:

Martin states, "This was a difficult story to tell - full of so much pain and so much tragedy. However, I feel honored to have had the opportunity to remind the U.S. public of the unfortunate history of blood between this country and Guatemala - a history which continues to haunt Sister Dianna Ortiz, whose tragic story is 'just one among millions.' I hope someday she will have the freedom and peace of mind that comes from knowing the full truth."

Also honored for their contributions to the production of this special report are David Breed and Latino USA's Walter Morgan and Angelica Luevano.

Celebrating its seventh year of award-winning programs, Latino USA is the only national English-language public radio program produced from a Latino perspective. Spotlighting Latino intellectuals, issues, education and culture, Latino USA is a production partnership of the University of Texas Center for Mexican American Studies and KUT-FM Radio at the University. LATINO USA is distributed by NPR.

"Maria Martin embodies Robert F. Kennedy's belief that one person can make a difference. Through her excellent reporting, Maria has made a difference by giving a voice to the voiceless and telling a story that otherwise would not have been told," said Kevin Klose, NPR's President and CEO. "Latino USA is an important program for public radio audiences," he added. "It exemplifies the balanced and in-depth reporting that listeners expect from public radio."

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week, via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR Online is available at NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR WorldwideSM, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.

Now in its 32nd year, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards were founded in 1968 by a group of reporters who covered Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. Dedicated to Robert Kennedy's youngest child, Rory, it is the largest single program that honors outstanding reporting on the problems of the disadvantaged. Known as the "Poor People's Pulitzers," it is one of the few journalism awards in which the winners are judged solely by their peers.

The full list of the 2000 RFK Journalism Award Winners are:

* Grand Prize Winner and International Print Winner
"Kosovo" - Peter Finn, The Washington Post

* First Prize, Domestic Print
"Charlie Squad" - Todd Richissin, The Baltimore Sun

* First Prize, Domestic Photojournalism
"In His Brother's Arms" - Eugena Garcia, The Orange County Register

* First Prize, International Photojournalism
"Osveli's Journey" - Essdras M. Suarez, Denver Rocky Mountain News

* First Prize, Domestic Television Broadcast
"Women in Prison: Nowhere to Hide" - Geraldo Rivera, Reporter, and Susan Farkas, Executive Producer, NBC News

* First Prize, International Television Broadcast
"The Unwanted Children of Russia" - Diane Sawyer, ABC News 20/20

* First Prize, International Radio Broadcast
"The Betrayal of Sister Dianna Ortiz" - Maria Emilia Martin, Latino USA

* First Prize, Domestic Radio Broadcast
"The Forgotten 14 Million" - John Biewen, American RadioWorks

* First Prize, Domestic Editorial Cartoon
"Rall Cartoons" - Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate

* Honorable Mention, Photojournalism
"A People in Peril" - Mona Reeder, The Arizona Republic

For more information on Latino USA, go to For more information on the RFK Journalism Awards, go to