Keeping Success Alive in Peru: A Yearlong Fellowship Leads to Lasting Change

Feb 142012
  • Trainer Eduardo Univazo shares editing techniques with Miller Torres (L) and Frank Mori (R) from UTV.

  • Trainer Eduardo Univazo supervises an edit at UTV

  • Trainer Eduardo Univazo works with reporters at TV Mundo (Arequipa)

  • Trainer Eduardo Univazo shoots with Diego Guevara from Uno Noticias (Tacna)

  • Knight International Fellow Hena Cuevas with former Congressman Héctor Chávez, is made an honorary member of the Federation of Journalists of Peru.

The success of any project isn’t measured by what occurs when you’re around, but by what happens once you’re gone. That was the dilemma in Peru as the Knight Fellowship was approaching its final stage. Sustainability: How would all this training of journalists continue without the presence of the Knight Fellow?

Throughout the year, we had been working with two journalists from Red TV, a 40-station network that reaches more than one third of Peru's TV viewers. They traveled throughout Peru, visiting the selected TV stations, co-participating in workshops, mentoring and even doing their own PowerPoint presentations. Still, we all knew we needed an experienced journalist to lead the team responsible for this ongoing training system we were proposing.

The challenge fell into the hands of an incredibly talented Peruvian by the name of Eduardo Univazo. Univazo is a photographer/editor and documentary producer who recently moved back to Peru after living for 25 years in Vienna, Austria. His experience includes extensive work with United Nations Television, as well as trips to more than 50 countries to shoot documentaries and conduct workshops, mostly in Africa. He also recently worked as a photographer/editor for Red TV’s national newscast "Enlace Nacional."

Univazo agreed to take over, so the handover process began in November with trips to the selected TV stations in Arequipa, Puno, Pucallpa and Tacna (because Univazo has a full-time job, he wasn’t able to visit Ayacucho). Univazo was introduced to the journalists as well as the station owners. He also conducted a very technical and hands-on workshop on editing techniques, giving the journalists tips on how to improve their shooting along the way.

TV Cultura and Red TV now have a team in place which can be sent out as needed. The idea is to incorporate seven new TV stations into the rotation until eventually all 40 members can get some kind of training at least once per year. Future plans include establishing a permanent training center at the Villa El Salvador affiliate in southern Lima. Villa TV 45 already has a technical institute where people can study computers and business administration. Hopefully in the near future, Red TV can use the installations as a place where their member stations can send their staff.

The time in Peru is up, and all three goals of the Fellowship are complete: First, the in-depth training of more than 200 journalists; second, helping Red TV cover the presidential elections in a different way by taking their coverage online; and finally, the establishment of an ongoing training system with a team led by an experienced local journalist, supported by a reporter and a producer from Enlace Nacional.

It’s been a rewarding and fulfilling experience which has ended in the best way possible. On January 26, 2012, in Ayacucho, I was made an honorary member of the Federation of Journalists of Peru, for my contribution to Peru’s journalism industry through the training of journalists. The swearing-in was in Ayacucho, during the official ceremony marking the 29th Anniversary of the Massacre at Uchuraccay. That day in 1983, eight journalists and their guide were murdered while investigating the ongoing struggle in the Andes between the military, the farmers and the terrorist organization Shining Path.

The country has come a long way since then, but the press continues to face an uphill battle. Our hope is that the Knight International Journalism Fellowship has given the journalists in the provinces the first steps in the training they need to continue to provide quality journalism.

I thank you, Peru, for opening your doors… and for the honor of considering me one of your own.