• Alberto Ibargüen

    “Our Hall of Fame has increasingly begun to recognize those journalists who pioneered and opened the spaces for us but definitely I think the one we have missed... is Félix Varela”

    Author, Columnist New York Daily News
    Guest Speaker at the “Félix Varela Awards”
    Washington DC, September 2010

    Juan González

  • Alberto Ibargüen

    “There comes a moment in every overwhelmingly big story when you know there is no way out except forward. Then, it takes a life of its own... and a reward in itself”

    First Prize Winner 2009
    El Diario La Prensa de Nueva York

    Julie López

  • Alberto Ibargüen

    “With so many important stories that need to be told and so many new ways to tell them, this is a very exciting time to be a journalist”

    First Prize Winner 2009
    New Haven Independent

    Thomas MacMillan

  • Alberto Ibargüen

    “The elements of success in Hispanic media (in the US) will always be giving that voice to the community, giving the opportunity for the community to speak in its own terms”

    President and CEO of the Knight Foundation.
    Guest Speaker at the “Félix Varela Awards”
    Philadelphia, September 2008

    Alberto Ibargüen

  • Alberto Ibargüen

    “Provenimos de tantos países, de tantas formas de ver la vida, que requerimos algo que nos unifique y, el Félix Varela a la Excelencia Periodística, cumple precisamente esta función”.

    First Prize Winner 2008
    La Opinión, Los Angles, CA

    Claudia Nuñez

  • Alberto Ibargüen

    “After witnessing the energy of Al Dia’s newsroom and meeting the organization’s dedicated judges during my visit to Philadelphia last Fall, I left feeling optimistic about the future of the craft”.

    First Prize Winner 2008
    Daily Review, San Franciso, CA

    Matt O’Brien

About the “Felix Varela” Awards

The “Félix Varela” Award for Excellence in American Journalism on Latino issues is the largest cash prize in this category in US Journalism.

The prizes are presented by the AL DÍA Foundation, chaired by Hernán Guaracao, former president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications in the US, and founder, editor and publisher of AL DÍA, a print and web-based news media organization with main offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The award was established to honor the memory of Father Félix Varela y Morales, an American intellectual of Latino origin who founded one of the first Spanish-language newspapers in the United States, in the city of Philadelphia, at the beginning of the 19th Century.

The “Félix Varela” Awards’ purpose is to recognize any American journalist covering with excellence multicultural issues in the nation today, either through Spanish-language Print, or any digital media outlet, in English or Spanish.

Who was FÉlix Varela?
  • A Catholic priest born in Cuba in 1788 who lived most of his life in the US. He came to Philadelphia, PA, in 1824.
  • Varela y Morales became that year in this city the founder of “El Habanero”, the first of several newspapers he published in the US.
  • “El Habanero” saw the light in Old City Philadelphia, the cradle of our Democracy and the Free Press.
  • Father Varela was also a prolific writer and the author of multiple essays on cooperation between the English and Spanish-speaking communities.
  • Father Varela translated into Spanish important English-language books, including Thomas Jefferson’s “Manual of Parliamentary Practice.”
  • In 1997 the United States Postal Service honored Varela by issuing a commemorative stamp.
Felix Varela

Félix Varela y Morales became in 1824 in the City of Philadelphia the founder of “El Habanero”, the first of several newspapers he published in the US.

Winners 2008


Imperio Narco

By Julie López from El Diario La Prensa de Nueva York

Claudia NuñezAn exhaustive and compelling investigation that connects the dots to reveal a decades-long drug smuggling operation linking Guatemala and New York, with tendrils reaching to Colombia and Mexico. Employing meticulous use of court documents, independent sources, and on-the-ground reporting in both countries, this three-part series examines the faces, the places and chronology of a vast criminal enterprise that moved thousands of pounds of drugs along a supply route that begins in South America and winds its way through Central America to the northeastern United States. Spectacular reporting.

Honorable Mention
  • Más indigenas en cárceles de EEUU: Claudia Nuñez, La Opinión, Los Angeles
  • Triquis se Afincan en Valle de Salinas: Eileen Traux, La Opinión, Los Angeles


Cross-Border Cops Arrest Father Jim

By Thomas MacMillan from New Haven Independent & La Voz Hispana

Matt ObrienAfter covering the arrest of a respected local priest for video taping police activities inside a Latino grocery store, reporter MacMillan stayed on the story, covering subsequent news events and allegations of harassment by police against Latino residents of East Haven. His series of follow-up stories about the racial and ethnic tensions in East Haven are a fine example of traditional shoe leather reporting, consistent news coverage and the use of video, digital photos and court documents to provide context for the overall story. A strong marriage of multimedia and journalism.

Honorable Mention
  • Brooklyn Family Keeps Latino-Jewish Traditions Alive: Dana Rosenblatt, CNN
  • Battle Zone: Daniel Newhauser, Cronkie Zine, Arizona State University.

Winners 2008

Spanish Print Category - First Prize

Esclavos del siglo XXI

By Claudia Nuñez from La Opinión

Claudia NuñezIn this well-documented series on Mexican immigrants lured to northern California by phony promises of good paying jobs who end up as virtual slaves in service jobs, Ms. Nuñez captures the human drama of this story of our times. The series is exquisitely crafted, meticulously reported and captures the human dimension of the male and female immigrants caught in a pernicious web of human trafficking, which has become a crisis of global proportions.

Honorable Mention
  • Guerra en los bosques: Traficantes amenazan, por Eva Sanchis, El Diario/La Prensa
  • Luchó hasta el fin: Voluntarios desafían una montana para encontrar a un inmigrante, por Hiram Soto, Enlace

Hispanic Immigrant Stories Category - First Prize

The Mayan Way

By Matt OBrien from Daily Review

Matt ObrienAn expertly told tale of the immigration of indigenous rural Guatemalans to a suburban community in the San Francisco Bay area. This series, published in English and Spanish, explores the push and pull factors of the Guatemalans immigration the violence and poverty that drives them north, the promise that beckons, and the risks they encounter to survive in the alien culture of the United States. The series is enhanced by excellent images and moving first-person audio accounts by the immigrants.

Honorable Mention
  • Death in the Desert: Jesus long journey home, by Mariana Alvarado Avalos, Arizona Daily Star.
  • The Best of all Bad Choices, by Angelica Herrera, The Chicago Reporter.

Entry Rules

Four $10,000 awards will be presented by the AL DÍA Foundation for the best examples of print and web-based journalism on American Latino and Multicultural Issues in four categories:

  • Best Feature Writing
  • Best Blogging
  • Best Documentary
  • Best Photojournalism

Submissions must consist of materials prepared in the ordinary course of the journalist’s professional production. Only one entry per individual is accepted. Individuals may apply on their own, or be entered by their organization. Multiple by-lines are eligible.

Entry Procedures
  • There is no entry fee.
  • No entry materials will be returned.
  • No faxed or e-mail entries.
Print Journalism and Digital Journalism Applicants
  • Submit FIVE hard copies of the qualifying materials.
  • All clips must show the name of the publication, story headline, page, and date of publication.
  • Entries must be on 8-1/2 x 11 inch white pages without fold-overs or reductions. Broadsheet originals may need cut-and-pasting. Photocopies are also acceptable. • Digital Journalism entries must also include a disk.

Materials may be used by the AL DÍA Foundation for promotional purposes of the "Félix Varela" Awards.


Entries for the 2011 & 2012 awards must be postmarked no later than August 31st, 2012.

Entry Application

Copy of the application is available here in Adobe PDF format. The entry form must be downloaded, printed, and mailed to the address below.

AL DÍA Foundation
1835 Market Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
e-mail: felixvarela@aldiainc.com


Award Categories

Four $10,000 awards will be presented by the AL DÍA Foundation for the best examples of Journalism produced on American Latino and Multicultural issues during 2011 & 2012 across the 50 states. Below are the award categories:

Best Feature Writing

Acknowledges the best practices of narrative journalism, and feature writing depicting the experience of Americans of Latino origin, and the migration which has taken place from Latin America to North America.

Best Blogging

Honors the most creative, innovative, and sharp practices of writing in the latest format created by the technological evolution of the 21st century. Opinion, feature writing, and personal journalism are welcome as long as they relate to descriptions of and reflections on the influence of Latino culture in the United States of America.

Best Documentary

Recognizes journalism via Audio-Visual languages: T.V., digital T.V., webcast, or regular film documentary showing the reality of the myriad untold stories of Latinos gradually becoming part of the fabric of the U.S.A. Pieces which don’t exceed 12 minutes are highly encouraged.

Best Photojournalism

Rewards the best use of the power of photography to tell stories via the static image, and the use of modern technology introduced into the art of photography (i.e. digital, photoshop, etc.). Photo essays and/or feature photography will be favored over single photo shots.

The deadline for submissions of work for the award is August 31st, 2012


Contact us

To receive updates or request additional information please write to us.


AL DIA Foundation

1835 Market Street
4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103