A podcast by Nicolás Maggi and produced by Erre Podcast about the story of a young punk musician who was arrested for a charge of which he was innocent; the coverage of the first weeks of the war in Ukraine recorded by photographer Rodrigo Abd, and the texts by Ricardo Robins with two parallel stories on stowaways, were winners of the Gabo 2022 prize, which out of five award-winning works distinguishes three produced by Argentine journalists.
From a total of 1,980 entries received, the Gabo Foundation selected five winning works in the Text, Cover, Image, Audio and Photography categories. After an initial selection of ten nominations in each discipline, the final decision was announced yesterday and three of the five projects were produced by Argentinians, while the other two were made by teams from Portugal and Guatemala.
In this edition, the Audio category was created and the prize was awarded to Nicolás Maggi for “La Segunda Muerte del Dios Punk”, produced by Erre Podcast and a team made up of Martín Parodi, Juan Ignacio Isern, Santiago Sietecase, Yemina Paz Menis, with the support of the Radio of the University of Rosario.
The podcast presents a non-fiction story that took place a few years ago in Rosario, in which the tragic experience of Javier Messina, known as “Punk God”, a punk rock street musician who was canceled with a virtual escrache and media coverage for an accusation of which he was innocent. Some time later, the musician commits suicide by jumping into the void from the balcony of a building. Maggi called this project “The second death of the punk god”, because the first death places it at this moment when the media and the networks blamed it on the basis of a viralized sound that no one has verified.
“The Second Death of the Punk God” is presented in different episodes and in each it addresses a different axis following the chronology of the story: the problematic extent of the viralization of fake news, the dangers of cancel culture, the slowness of justice, the spiral of madness of the escrache, the extent of mental health and the imbalance that the event can generate. The jury underlined, in this sense, that “the description of the role of the networks and the escrache mechanism, the good musicalization and the adequate use of sound effects are the keys to the success of this podcast which is based on a small piece of theater and encompasses, in the end, a wide range of readings of urban life”.
In the Photography category – also new to this edition – Argentinian photographer Rodrigo Abd (Buenos Aires, 1976) was chosen as the winner for his coverage of the first five weeks of the war in Ukraine, for The Associated Press. The photo essay is titled “The Silent Pain of Ukraine” and reveals the drama of war conflict from very different scenarios that record the experience of war: a child near the grave of his starved mother and stress, unidentified bodies in body bags, a dog on a deserted road or a woman walking with her dog through the rubble of a collapsed building.
According to the jury, it is “an impeccable synthesis of the most important event of our time. An exceptional work on the journalistic and aesthetic level: it tells in depth what it must tell while composing impeccable images, charged with a very brutal lyricism or an almost lyrical brutality”, indicates the verdict of the jury composed of writer and columnist Martín Caparrós, Ecuadorian photojournalist and cultural manager Pablo Corral Vega and Mexican artist and photographer Tania Franco Klein.
This is not the first time that Abd has been recognized for his work: in 2013, he won the Pulitzer Prize in the “Breaking News” category for his team coverage of the armed conflict in Syria. When he won the prestigious international award, he opened up about the difficulties of covering dramatic experiences like war. “Looking at the light, focusing is not easy in a medium where you can’t choose when to shoot. It’s hard to be able to control the situation,” he said at the time.
The third prize-winning work in the text category is “The stowaway and the captain”, by Rosario journalist Ricardo Robins. It is a graphic story that tells two parallel stories of stowaways, published in six episodes for Rosario3 media. On the one hand, that of Bernard Joseph, who from Tanzania began a journey of clandestine emigration, which ended up taking him to Rosario, and on the other that of Captain Florin Filip, who, after setting sail for the Congo with the RM Power, finds stowaways on your boat. “With these missing -reviewed by the Gabo Foundation-, Filip is accused of having thrown them into the sea to avoid the repatriation costs of the shipping company. A chronicle in six episodes on missing migrants, refugees and new black families in Argentina”.
For the jury composed of the Chilean Mónica González, the Brazilian Ricardo Viel and the Spaniard Sergio Vila-Sanjuán, “the author skilfully combines human testimony and judicial documentation; produces a captivating text and a humanist narrative full of hope through the solidarity experience of Bernard Joseph”.
A total of 1,980 works, published between July 1, 2021 and June 7, 2022 by media outlets with audiences in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, applied for this edition of the prize. In a first selection round, 160 works were chosen and among them 50 nominees were recognized, among which the finalists finally emerged.