Roanoke Times, El Sentinel and Real Atlanta Garner First-Ever McGraw-Hill Personal Finance Journalism Awards

Sep 272009

Washington, DC - The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced that journalists from The Roanoke Times, El Sentinel, and Real Atlanta will receive the first McGraw-Hill Personal Finance Journalism Awards. The winners produced stories that helped raise financial literacy in Hispanic communities.

The journalists were among 30 reporters from more than a dozen print, online, radio and television news organizations who participated in a 13-week online program, taught in English and Spanish, designed to provide in-depth knowledge of consumer finance issues of particular importance to Latinos.

The International Center for Journalists administered the program, which was funded by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Over three years, this program has trained more than 100 journalists writing for Hispanic communities throughout the United States.

The winners are:

First Place: Adriana Gómez for her article "When Immigration Meets the American Dream" in the The Roanoke (Va.) Times. The article pinpoints the new challenges immigrants face in securing a home loan during a recession.

Second Place: Enrique Flor of El Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for his article "Defensa gratuita para foreclosures." He produced a Web story and video on how Latinos can seek free legal support when faced with possible foreclosures.

Third Place: Ana Carolina González, for her story "Guía para elegir una Consejería de Crédito," a step-by-step guide to finding a credit counselor, published on the Real Atlanta Web site (

The winners will be honored on October 27 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The keynote speaker for the event will be New York Times personal finance columnist Ron Lieber. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Lieber and Hispanic personal finance expert Xavier Serbia, the Spanish-language instructor for the McGraw-Hill course. The panel will be moderated by ICFJ’s president, Joyce Barnathan.

Through the Hispanic Personal Finance Reporting Program, Latino journalists published dozens of stories on the housing crisis, health insurance, Latino disability, remittances, mortgage and tax deduction, the use of credit cards, credit unions for Hispanics, and so forth.

"From the start, this program was created to help Hispanics make smart financial decisions," said ICFJ President and former BusinessWeek Executive Editor Barnathan. "The winners provide insights that help Latino communities navigate intelligently during a time of economic distress."

The current financial crisis is affecting all Americans, but the Hispanic population is even more vulnerable. Unaccustomed to the U.S. system of credit financing – and often unaware of the serious consequences of consumer debt – many Hispanics are highly vulnerable to predatory lending practices, foreclosure threats and credit scams. With McGraw-Hill’s generous support, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is working to fill this gap.

Winners were nominated by the course instructors: Chris Roush, a member of the faculty at University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication and administrator of a leading business Web site,, and Xavier Serbia, founder and editor-in-chief of personal finance Web site Serbia is a syndicated columnist on personal finance and has written for various Hispanic media outlets. ICFJ experts made the final selection.

The International Center for Journalists, a non-profit, professional organization, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, ICFJ has worked directly with more than 55,000 journalists from 176 countries. Aiming to raise the standards of journalism, ICFJ offers hands-on training, workshops, online training, seminars, fellowships and international exchanges to reporters and media managers around the globe.

The mission of The McGraw-Hill Companies is to help people around the world learn, grow, acquire new skills, better their lives and better their communities. The Corporation accomplishes this through a variety of programs that assist non-profit organizations and support employees' commitment to giving back to their communities. Through McGraw-Hill’s direct grants program the Corporation primarily supports initiatives that enhance financial literacy skills and advance economic empowerment. This year, The McGraw-Hill Companies launched a campaign for financial literacy in New York City. Financial Literacy Now: New York, which is a project with several non-profit partners, works to raise awareness about the critical importance of financial literacy and provide greater access to training, services and information. For more information about The McGraw-Hill Companies philanthropic programs visit