National magazine journalism may be coughing and gagging its last breaths, but public radio is giving print reporters hope. In an email to supporters late last night, WLRN-Miami Herald News Director Dan Grech announced the station is reopening its Americas Desk. Even better: The desk will be helmed by Tim Padgett, a veteran reporter who spent 23 years covering Latin America and the Caribbean for TIME and Newsweek magazines. Their loss is Miami's gain for sure.
"We're doing this in collaboration with our partners at the Miami Herald and NPR," Grech says in the email. "Join me in welcoming Tim to the WLRN-Miami Herald news team! And stay tuned for his great work."
In addition to bringing on Padgett, NPR is opening a bureau in Sao Paulo, Brazil and WLRN is expanding its partnership with the Herald and El Nuevo Herald to include coordinated coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean. NPR's former Jerusalem bureau chief Lourdes Garcia-Navarro will now be based in Sao Paulo and takes on the role of South America correspondent.
Padgett and Navarro will collaborate with six other experienced Latin America reporters: The Herald's Jim Wyss, based in Colombia; Caribbean correspondent Jacqueline Charles; columnist Andres Oppenheimer and reporter Mimi Whitefield, who has reported extensively on Cuba and Latin American; and El Nuevo Herald's veteran Latin America correspondents Juan Tamayo and Antonio Delgado.
"With Miami being the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and the growing influence of Hispanics in the U.S., this is a natural collaboration for WLRN," station General Manager John Labonia says. "From Brazilians buying up real estate to Haitian earthquake survivors in our schools, what happens in Latin America and the Caribbean has a profound effect on South Florida, and it's our mission to cover that."
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Garcia-Navarro was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after the 2011 uprising began. Her portraits of a country at war were recognized with Peabody, Murrow and Gracie Awards. She has also served as NPR's Baghdad bureau chief and Mexico City correspondent.
Padgett has chronicled Mexico's democratization and drug war as well as the rise of Latin leaders like Brazil's Lula and Venezuela's Chavez. In 2005, he won a Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University, the oldest international prize in journalism, for his sustained and distinguished body of work contributing to Inter-American understanding.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.