Colombia’s journalists made CJA first nationwide stop

A delegation representing  the Colombian Society of Newspapers and Media made Chicago and our association  its first stop Tuesday evening, June 8. It was the beginning of a whirlwind journey that would later take them to Latino embassies and business leaders in New York and Washington.

CJA President Allen Rafalson is flanked by (L to R) Samuel Alves, Daniel Solari and Jhon Lozano. Photo was taken at the Rock Bottom restaurant, Grand and State Streets, by Colombian journalist John Stanley.

“We are working on strengthening the institutional and constitutional communications in Latin America and are of the opinion that our objectives can be best achieved by creating alliances with press associations such as yours,” Samuel Alves told Chicago Journalists Association President Allen Rafalson. He is digital media director and quality manager for the Colombian Press Society and La Plenaria Legislative magazine.                                        

“Although there are no media restrictions by our government, Colombia’s journalists have been ‘isolated’ and have not received substantial  input from our colleagues elsewhere.   Our most important project for the next three years is to create opportunities for a consistent dialogue with fellow journalists, particularly in the U.S.”, he said. 

 “In addition to our work in Colombia, we support unemployed journalists in cities like Chicago where there is a large Latino community. Our main source of funding comes from the private sector by providing advertising, public relations, web development and consulting services.”

Alves said there are numerous press associations in Colombia besides his. “Most are union, we are not.” 

He was accompanied by Daniel Solari, vice president of La Revista Vision, Jhon Lozano, Columbian Press Society, and reporter John Stanley. He said CJA was the only journalism organization they would be visiting in the weeks ahead.

   The Columbia Society of Press and Media will recognize either its country’s top reporter, citizen or organization that stands for democracy during a ceremony in Bogota’s Congressional Building in the fall, according to Alves.

CJA signed a Reciprocity Agreement with the Philippine National Press Club-USA,  October 2005.