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Angélica Casas honored with 2021 Cecilia Vaisman Award for Multimedia Reporters

Award from Medill, NAHJ recognizes outstanding reporting on Hispanic and Latinx communities

July 29, 2021
Angelica Casas headshot.
Angélica Casas, of BBC News, recipient of the 2021 Cecilia Vaisman Award for Multimedia Reporters.

EVANSTON, ILL. -- Angélica Casas is the recipient of the 2021 Cecilia Vaisman Award from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Casas is a senior video journalist at BBC News.

The Vaisman award honors an individual working in audio or video journalism who works every day to shed light on the various issues affecting Hispanic and Latinx communities inside and outside the United States and is an active member of the NAHJ. It is given jointly by NAJH and Medill and includes a $5,000 cash prize. The award is named for Medill faculty member Cecilia Vaisman who died in 2015.

“Countless stories about the Latinx community would go untold if not for the reporting done by Angélica,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “As the only Latina and native Spanish speaker in her newsroom, she has transformed that challenge into a stellar portfolio of work. I could not be more thrilled to honor her with the 2021 Cecilia Vaisman Award.”

Casas’s nomination was reviewed and selected by a jury of Medill and NAHJ representatives, including members of the NAHJ Chicago chapter. The award criteria was determined by the jury.

“I am humbled to be the recipient of this award that honors Cecilia’s work and legacy of service,” said Casas. “Telling stories about the Latino community is a privilege and great responsibility—one I don’t take lightly. It is my hope that this award not only recognizes my work, but also the people who trust me with their stories, the editors who understand the importance of amplifying diverse voices and allow me to do this work and mi familia, who never lets me forget where I come from.”

In the last 12 months, Casas has covered the toll of the pandemic on Latinos and the community’s voting power in the 2020 election. Casas worked with a colleague to interview immigrant workers at a meatpacking plant that at the time had the highest COVID-19 case rate in the country. She also has reported about how the popular tandas (informal lending circles) used by Central American communities were being used by Latinos in the United States to weather the economic hardships of the pandemic. Her coverage also has included the voices of DACA recipients in the BBC’s coverage of the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer.

“NAHJ celebrates Angélica Casas as the 2021 Vaisman award recipient,” said NAHJ National President Nora López. “Her work honors the legacy of Cecilia Vaisman to ensure representation of Hispanic and Latino communities in the news is diverse and multifaceted.”

Prior to her time at the BBC, Casas served as an assistant producer for the documentary “Journey to Heaven” which told the story of Haitians arriving at the U.S. border.

In addition to her work, Casas volunteers to teach journalism and documentary filmmaking to low-income high school students and is currently a member of the Latinas in Journalism Mentorship Program, which launched late last year. In the program, she guides aspiring and early career journalists through the world of video storytelling and helps young Latinas write cover letters, prepare for job interviews and find their voice through their work.

Casas’s work will be highlighted during an award ceremony hosted by Medill on Thursday, September 30, 5:30 p.m. CDT, in partnership with NAHJ.

Register to attend the award ceremony via Zoom.

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