NewsLatin AmericaMartin Caparros: ​​"The journalist has to take two steps back, shake off prejudices and look again"

Martin Caparros: ​​”The journalist has to take two steps back, shake off prejudices and look again”

When he was young, the Argentine journalist and writer Martin Caparros (Buenos Aires, 65 years old) wanted to be a photographer, but chance led him towards written journalism. He still remembers the first note from him: a story published in the Argentine newspaper News —“quite critical and leftist”, directed by Miguel Bonasso— about an agency cable that reported the discovery of a foot of a mountaineer who had gotten lost ten years earlier in Aconcagua. It was February 16, 1971 and the cadetand he was 16 years old. “That piece was surely written with his feet”, he recalled this Wednesday when looking back and evoking some passages from 49 years of a trade that has led him through the chronicle, the report, the essay, the opinion columns and even the photograph. “I’m even worse as a photographer than as a journalist,” he comments with a laugh after learning that the Ortega y Gasset jury has awarded him the Professional Career Award.

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Considered one of the greatest exponents of the best Latin American chronicle, a shrewd interviewer and an observer endowed with fine irony and an encyclopedic culture, Caparros embodies the figure of the “total journalist”. He has traveled the American continent to tell it with “great interest and great intensity”, a vast work that he synthesized in the book america, an invented word that is born from the juxtaposition of the most characteristic letter of the Spanish language and America. “The general idea,” he comments, “was to try to understand what Latin America is now. We have a lot of misconceptions and commonplaces when we think about the continent.”

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From Latin America he made the leap to the world. “There is something that always worried me about journalism in Spanish. It seems that we have to limit ourselves to talking about our places and that to talk about the world there are the Americans, the English, the French and some Germans. We too can talk about the world. It is necessary to think the world”. Concerns that he has captured in books such as against change either Hunger and in the series of articles The world then an original and captivating journalistic essay conceived as a history manual written in 2120 about this planet and those who inhabit it. “It is a narrative excuse to make a synthesis of what our society and our ways of life are. It is about looking from a distance at what you are used to seeing. It is one of the most interesting jobs a journalist can do: take two steps back, shake off your prejudices and look again. You will see very different things.”

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