Award-Winning Reporter to Lead Open Society’s Work on Independent Journalism

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today named María Teresa Ronderos as the director of its Program on Independent Journalism.

Ronderos will oversee Open Society’s efforts to promote viable, high-quality media, particularly in countries transitioning to democracy. She will oversee a program with a 2014 budget of $12.8 million.

“At a time when internet technology should be allowing journalism to flourish, independent journalism is embattled on almost all fronts,” said Chris Stone, President of the Open Society Foundations. “Maria Teresa Ronderos knows those battles first hand. She has devoted her career to fearless reporting, while working to protect and nurture the independence of her colleagues worldwide.”

“I am delighted that she will join Open Society to lead our efforts to strengthen support for professional, ethical, independent journalism wherever it is under threat.  I look forward to working alongside her and her colleagues in the Program on Independent Journalism," Stone said.

Ronderos will oversee Open Society funding of investigative and exile journalism and organizations that distribute public interest news. The Open Society program enables independent media to deliver quality content for the public good by promoting freedom of expression, professional and ethical standards, watchdog journalism, and diverse voices.

“I firmly believe that the free flow of ideas and information makes for better citizens and leaders and is key to building stronger political and economic systems that improve people’s lives,” said Ronderos. “I am excited to join an organization that supports  independent journalists throughout the world—even those reporting under extremely difficult circumstances—in the hard task of informing people about what really goes on in their societies and why.”

Ronderos comes to the Open Society Foundations from Semana, Colombia’s leading news magazine, where she served in a range of senior editorial roles. Together with the Ideas for Peace Foundation, she created VerdadAbierta.com, a website that has covered armed conflict in Colombia since 2008. She has been its editor-in-chief since then.

She serves on a number of boards including the García Márquez Iberoamerican Foundation for New Journalism, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Flip, Colombia’s Foundation for Freedom of the Press, where as chair she worked to protect the lives of journalists in danger.

An experienced teacher, Ronderos has trained professional journalists from across Latin America and led workshops, online courses, and seminars on investigative journalism, politics, and social and economic issues.

In 2013, Ronderos and her team at VerdadAbierta.com won the Simon Bolivar National Award, Colombia’s highest journalism award, for best investigative reporting. Among other awards, Ronderos has also received the King of Spain Iberoamerican Award in Madrid and the Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia University in New York.

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The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities in more than 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.