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Costa Rican investigative reporter, data journalism pioneer Giannina Segnini wins prestigious Maria Moors Cabot Prize

Costa Rican data journalism trailblazer and investigative reporter Giannina Segnini has won a Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

“From war reporting to data journalism and political cartoons, this year’s Cabot winners bring us the news on diverse platforms, and they are the best in the profession,” said Steve Coll, dean and Henry R. Luce professor of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which also awards the Pulitzer Prize, described the Cabot Prize as an honor for journalists who cover the Western Hemisphere and contribute to “furthering inter-American understanding.” Established in 1983, the Cabot Prize is the oldest international reporting award of its kind, according to the university.

The Cabot Prize lauded Segnini as a fearless reporter and an innovator whose “courageous investigative stories unveiling corruption and bribery scandals led to the arrest of two former Costa Rican presidents.” Along with her investigative work, Segnini made a name for herself as a pioneer in database investigations. She has trained hundreds of journalists around the world in data-driven journalism techniques with a focus on unveiling corruption.

Segnini founded the investigative and data journalism unit at the Costa Rican daily La Nación and served as an editor and reporter for 20 years before leaving the publication in February. She is currently a James Madison Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism at Columbia in New York.

The Costa Rican journalist has received numerous awards over her career, including a Maria Moors Cabot Special Citation in 2005 and a Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard University during the 2001-2002 academic year.

Other winners this year include U.S. journalists Frank Bajak of The Associated Press and Tracy Wilkinson of The Los Angeles Times, and Mexican journalist Paco Calderón of Grupo Reforma. The Maria Moors Cabot Special Citation went to Tamoa Calzadilla and Laura Weffer of Últimas Noticias in Venezuela.

Winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York on Oct. 15.

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