Al Dia: Varela Awards Offer $40,000 to Multicultural Journalists

Tom Jacobson and Hernan Guaracao chat after the press conference.
Dean Thomas Jacobson and Hernan Guaracao of Al Dia chat after the press conference.

The Felix Varela Award, which provides $40,000 award for excellence in American journalism funded by the Al Dia Foundation, is now open to more than Spanish-language articles.

The award, one of the largest in journalism, is named for a Catholic priest who wrote journalistic articles in Philadelphia and New York about his native Cuba during the 19th century.

The award, which celebrates the value of the First Amendment, is calling for journalists to submit entries on Latino and multicultural issues in the United States.

The competition was officially opened in Annenberg Hall at the Temple University School of Communications and Theater by Interim Dean Thomas Jacobson and Hernan Guaracao, the founder of the Al Dia Foundation.

The awards represent four different categories: writing, blogging, documentary and photojournalism. Each category winner will be awarded $10,000. Winners will be determined by a panel of prominent journalists and professors. Judges will be looking for one thing: a beautiful piece of journalism.

Guaracao said: “When you see beauty, it’s beauty. You don’t have to go looking for it.”

Linn Washington, a journalism professor at Temple University and a judge for the awards, talked about the value of news stories that are not considered mainstream. Washington said coverage of these stories is vital to the future of multicultural journalism.

The First Amendment is critical to the development of journalism. Without freedom of expression, some of these stories would not be possible. Because the First Amendment is rooted in Philadelphia, the awards will be held in the Constitution Center.

Guaracao has an appreciation and fascination for the work that Varela did. He noted an ideology that Varela followed. “Write with one hand and fight with the other.”

The deadline to submit is Aug. 31. For more information on the Felix Varela Award or if you would like to enter visit

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