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  • 07.11.11

How One Woman Is Using The Media To Expose Corruption In Guatemala

Guatemala's El Periodico

El Periodico was started 1996, just as Guatemala was emerging from a 30-year civil war. Since its inception, the paper has investigated abuses of power (rampant in the country), and it was instrumental in pinpointing former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo in a money laundering scheme.

Gereda’s work has not come without risk. FastCompany.com had the chance to hear Gereda speak at this week’s Aspen Global Leadership Summit at the Aspen Institute, where the journalist recounted one evening when she was walking by herself and someone put a gun to her head, saying they would kill her if she continued to publish damning information about the president.

Sylvia Gereda

The journalist also recently launched Switch, a magazine insert in El Periodico that is designed to offer role models to Guatemalan youth. And that’s not all–Gereda’s other new venture is Informe Especial, the first investigative journalism television show in Guatemala. A sample topic: femicide (Guatemala ranks second in violent homicides of women). Gereda says that her new challenge is “to be with people, to touch the misery.” Because if the mainstream media in the U.S.–and elsewhere–isn’t going to do it, somebody has to.

[Image: Top: Flickr user catorze14; Bottom: Aspen Insitute]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.AS