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Professor Alves Honored for Maria Moors Cabot Award, Dorothy Bowles Award

By MOLLY A. CROUCH

Amidst the rise of skyscrapers and shantytowns in and around Rio de Janeiro in the late 1960s, most young men were striving to be lawyers, priests or engineers. But Rosental Alves was not like most young men. Despite family objections, he aspired to be a journalist. At a mere 16 years old, he could not have foreseen the impact he would have on Latin American journalism over the next 40 years.

From a reporter in Brazil to an editor and professor in Austin, Alves reflected on his career, saying:  “I have never done anything in my life other than practicing journalism or teaching journalism.”

His commitment to the craft has been recognized most recently by being honored with two prestigious awards. Alves received the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Dorothy Bowles Award “for building bridges between academics and professionals in mass communications.”

Alves said the Bowles prize is in recognition for the links he has made between UT and the news industry.  One of the reasons he received this award is his instrumental role in the creation of the Knight Center of Journalism in the Americas in 2002 on the UT campus. Rosental also runs a daily trilingual blog, Journalism in the Americas, that covers news related to journalism and press freedom, and he hosts massive open online courses within the center that have served about 75,000 people in four years from 69 countries with journalism training.

Alves also initiated the International Symposium on Online Journalism in 1999. It began as a one-day professional conference where editors, media managers and executives of media organizations from all over the country could attend. It has become international and more academic, so now researchers are involved. They discuss the future of journalism and the impact of the internet on journalism at the conference.
 
“I think that the Dorothy Bowles prize has a lot to do with this kind of work with the Knight Center and the ISOJ,” Alves said. “I think [winning] is an incentive to keep building bridges. I feel like I’m this bridge builder.”
 

He will soon receive the oldest international award from Columbia University, the Maria Moors Cabot Awards for his contributions to Inter-American understanding. Alves said he was surprised that he won the Cabot award because he's no longer a full-time working journalist.

“Normally people who receive this prize are American journalists who cover Latin America or Latin American journalists who show excellence in journalism or face some problems with up-close societies or oppression or problems with freedom of expression,” Alves said. “I was very happy when the board decided, and some of them told me that they did not believe that I had never received the Prize. It was a pleasant surprise at this time.”

Donna De Cesare, an associate professor in the School of Journalism who was awarded the Cabot Prize in 2013, said she felt as if Alves had “slipped through the cracks” in terms of being recognized by this award.
 

De Cesare said she nominated Alves for Cabot Prize this year because of his work ethic, dedication to his programs and his journalism and journalism education career, all steeped in Latin American culture.

“I think that this particular award is perfect for someone like Rosental,” De Cesare said. “He probably wouldn’t like this term, but [he is] in some ways, like a midwife. What I mean by that is the process of birthing these organizations took time, had to have vision. He really laid out a cultural collaboration from the beginning and a way of bringing people together, trusting each other and to also feel a sense of pride in their achievement and sharing information.”

Crouch is a freshman journalism major.