Rosental Alves

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at UT received a $270,000 grant to fund the center’s general operating costs and the pay for the center’s annual conference, the Austin Forum, for the next two years.

The Open Society Foundations, which work to advance justice in marginalized countries, awarded the grant.

“[The grant] is an acknowledgment of the work the Knight Center has been doing in the Latin Americas and the Caribbean by helping journalists to improve the quality of journalism in their own countries,” said Rosental Alves, director of the center.

The last two years, the center’s Austin Forum, an annual conference for media development in Latin America and the Caribbean, was on specific topics such as the coverage of drug violence in the Americas. The next Austin Forum will be held on Sept. 9 and 10 and will be on international migrations in the region, Alves said.

Alves said the center has been successful in inspiring and helping create several organizations dedicated to investigative journalism.

“We work with empowering journalists, not only with the training of techniques but helping them create their own organizations to improving the standards of journalism in their country, therefore contributing to the working of democracy in the region,” Alves said.  

Former NPR CEO and general manager of Vivian Schiller has agreed to still speak at a symposium on online journalism at UT in April, despite an announcement Wednesday that she left her post at the public radio outfit. Schiller will talk about her vision as an online journalist with NPR and, said journalism professor Rosental Alves, who organizes the symposium each year. This morning he called and told Schiller that he would still be happy to have her speak at UT’s Communication School, regardless of her resignation from NPR, he said. “She will be a superb, outstanding keynote speaker for us,” he said. “I was very sad to learn that she was leaving NPR, but I was very happy that I could convince her to still come for the symposium.” Schiller will be the first in a series of keynote speakers and will be followed by the vice president and managing editor of, Meredith Artley. NPR struggled to transition to the digital age, but through requirements such as multimedia training for all NPR journalists, Schiller shifted the network forward, Alves said. “The most important work that she has done was moving NPR into the digital age,” he said. “That experience alone would be very relevant for us who are concerned with the future of journalism in this country.”