Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Martin Leandro Camacho: The compassionate face of Peru


PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2020 winner

Mart n Leandro Camacho has always been passionate about being compassionate. The 27-year-old spent the formative periods of his childhood in a small fishing village called Cancas, in northern Peru. I loved the sea and its legends, he says, recalling his early years. But from a young age, I could clearly see injustices all around me.

One scene in particular symbolised for him the unjust difference between Peru's rich and poor. Our little fishing village, where poverty was rife, was next to an exclusive beach resort to which only the privileged and wealthy had access, he says. That always made me doubt the balance of the world.

At the age of nine, Mart n moved with his family to Piura, the capital city of Peru's northwestern Piura region, known for its rich colonial history and architecture. It is here that Mart n started to take note of the power of storytelling to shine a light on different communities and where his journey to journalism began.

-- Play

-- --

I started to read more, to commit myself more. I had a more focused vision of the real problems of society, he says. In my teens, I financed my fledgling reports by working as a photographer in a restaurant. I then studied journalism at the National University of Piura and after graduating, found myself working for the largest newspaper in the region.

Mart n may have elbowed out dozens of other young hopefuls to land a dream job at a major media organisation, but he admits to feeling both delighted and disenchanted. Real news, he thought, was underreported. The domestic focus was often too narrow. Rural Peruvians were largely ignored. He wanted to write stories that involved human connection, moments of change, tragedy and triumph. Stories where he could see their benefit and feel their impact.

In a moment of clarity and feeling a powerful hunch that the moment was right, Mart n took a leap of faith. He left his job at the newspaper, delved deep into his savings and set up an alternative to mainstream media.

Nube Roja (Red Cloud), an online magazine committed to enabling unheard or remote voices to reach a wider audience, was born.

It sounds like idealism, but I have seen so many injustices in my country that I've always wanted to see change and be that change, explains Mart n. I know that I can achieve it through the word. Silence has never been an option.

Taking steps towards a more balanced world While there may be countless untold and under-reported stories in Peru, Mart n's role as investigator and amplifier is vital. In his body of work submitted for the Young Journalist Award, he highlights how the Covid-19 pandemic has magnified social inequality in his country and rendered the poorest truly helpless.

Titled Piura Market: An Invisible Enemy in the Crowd', he collects the testimony of TJ, a student whose elderly father is forced to work in a busy market and faces a daily dilemma of balancing protection from the virus with earning money to feed his family.

Standing among hundreds of peaceful protesters in Cancas, campaigning against the exploitation of heavy crude oil off its coast, Mart n also investigates why children were caught in choking clouds of teargas and why rocks were lobbed at hundreds of fishermen and women to disperse them by the people paid to protect them: the police.

Travelling to Cerro de Pasco, an important mining centre in the high Andes, Mart n also reports on the anger and anxiety that fills the parents of children suffering from the long-term health consequences of lead poisoning. With unworkable solutions foisted upon them and facing other traumas associated with living in poverty, Mart n takes up their case with empathy and a deep understanding of the issues so that their problems become my problems.

It's this proven sensitive touch that has earned him first place in the 2020 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award.

I try to seek justice with my pen so that the invisible are vindicated.

Mart n Leandro Camacho, 2020 Young Journalist Award winner

I consider this a triumph not only for myself, but also for the communities whose rights have been trampled on. Now their voices are heard around the world, says Mart n.

This award is for the children of Cerro de Pasco, whose blood is contaminated with lead. It's for the fishermen of Cancas. It's for the small business owners who have lost their income due to Covid-19. It's for the communities that face tragedies daily and who remain silenced and unheard, and who rarely find solutions to their problems. This award is for them.

Putting girls at the forefront of social progress Mart n defines his work as that of a servicer' of the community's needs. Since setting up Nube Roja, his passion for justice and his desire to address inequality and tap into underrepresented communities has led to a subsequent venture.

Inspired by his feminist activist wife, Mirtha Chong Ramirez, who spearheaded an initiative that encourages young girls from disadvantaged communities to be ambitious and develop leadership qualities, Mart n offers a secure space for young girls, often the victims of violence and sexual abuse, to learn more about journalism.

I am dedicated to social activism, he says. I teach vulnerable children how to write stories and make documentaries. Alongside my wife, I spend four months of the year mentoring young girls from across Latin America who have suffered abuse. Living in a region highly unequal for women, and with a young daughter of my own, investing in their world is something I truly care about.

Winning the Young Journalist Award has encouraged Mart n to offer advice to other aspiring journalists: Always be firm in your principles and always seek the truth. Doubt the official version and try to
See more stories from thompsonfoundation

More from Thomson


Changing the way news and stories about Africa are told

The moment you see your byline next to a story is a magical moment for any journalist. It brings with it a sense of relief, pride and hope that you'll get n...


International success for Montenegrin mobile journalist

Success in our training programmes is measured in many ways but one of the most rewarding is reading or watching powerful stories produced by young journalists ...


Shifting the focus: Sudan on the edge of change

A pioneering band of creatives in Sudan are promoting social change through photography. The Thomson Media training for digital media entrepreneurs formed part ...


Telegram course: Reacting to a chemical attack

Chemical and biological weapons may be banned but that has not stopped them being used in recent conflicts and for journalists reporting on the war in Ukraine k...


A vote of confidence: Empowering women politicians in Gagauzia

The look of politics in Gagauzia, the small autonomous territory in southern Moldova, is decidedly male. Just two of the 35 members of local parliament are wome...


The Bettina Fund: Transforming women's careers

Eleven women who participated in the inaugural Bettina Fund - Women in Media Leadership programme say it will transform their careers as they have gained confid...


Investigating Moldova: Journalists pick up two awards

Stories on ecology and corruption, developed with Thomson Media support, are among the best investigations of the year. By Dima Stoianov, media support expert ...


Boosting media portrayals of minorities in the Western Balkans

Media in minority languages are relatively well developed, but one segment is significantly neglected in the six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bos...


The definitive guide to podcasting has arrived

Award-winning podcasters and journalists from the UK, India, Kenya, Australia and South Africa have joined forces to create what's believed to be the first ...


Podcasts: Why I love audio

The 7th of January 1991 was a big day for me. It was the day I started working as a radio journalist. As someone who writes for a living, I'm supposed to a...


Persistence pays off for the first ever Malaysian Young Journalist winner

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 winner It was Kai Hui Wong's persistence in her investigations which led her to reveal abuses of power that convin...


Doing the groundwork: Monika Mondal wins our environmental prize

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2021 (environment) winner It's hard to believe that Monika Mondal only started her journalism career last year at the hei...


Who are the Young Journalist Award 2021 finalists?

Three journalists - from India, and for the first time, Colombia and Malaysia - are the finalists for the 2021 Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, in par...


We can change our migration narrative - election time is a good time to do it

By Eileen Truax Eileen is a journalist specialising in migration working with Thomson Media on Moving Voices - a project looking at cross border issues affectin...


All fired up: The journalists addressing the climate emergency with words and actions

As world leaders gather for COP26, it is a pertinent time to showcase the work o...


When diversity in newsrooms and newsleadership is not enough

In the latest in a series of personal reflections on womens role in the media, Luba Kassova, author of The Missing Perspectives of Women in News reflects on why...


Meet the new generation of journalists making a mark

It's one of those points in the annual media calendar that early-career journalists await on the edge of their seats - and the moment has arrived. We can ...


Women in media: Confronting the confidence gap

A confidence gap is a constant theme when discussing the lack of women in leadership positions in media. Why do women feel that they dont merit their success mo...


Circular economy: Bringing the intellectually ambitious concept to life

Chances are, most things that currently surround you have been produced following the principles of the linear economy. From the clothes that you wear to the ph...


Why we're all environmental journalists now

Journalists have a unique role to play in changing the narrative around the worlds environmental breakdown and becoming an essential part of the solution. Hear ...


The next generation of leaders in Kenya's media

Twelve women aiming to become future leaders and entrepreneurs in Kenya's media. They were chosen from more than 500 who applied to join the inaugural progr...


Encounters with a Sudanese artist pushing for a brighter future

Profile: Reem Al Jeally, Sudan A matriarchal figure is painted on a concrete wall on Jamhuriya Avenue, next to the University of Khartoum. Her face is not depic...


Truth always wins - spotlight on former Young Journalist winner, Martin Camacho

Applications are open for the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award, one of the highlights of the UK's Foreign Press Association Awards. Closes Septembe...


Lessons of a lifetime help to deliver Thomson Foundation's mission

As he retires as Thomson Foundation chief executive - after a decade at the helm - Nigel Baker reflects on his previous 35-year career in journalism and lessons...


News writing: The art of storytelling

Journalism is competitive. It can be a hard occupation to get into and it is just as hard to succeed in it. Thomson Foundations new online course News writing: ...


Covering the escalation of police brutality in Kenya

On the 13th March, Kenya announced its first coronavirus case. The government announced measures to contain the spread. However, some of the measures proved dea...


An environmental twist on this year's Young Journalist Award

We are excited to announce the return of the prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award where young journalists, their work and their voices are at t...


The Bettina Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Reporting on refugees: Belonging and unbelonging

Ahead of World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to refugees, their plight and their rights, we spotlight the work of Jordan-based filmmaker Jumana Saadeh and Kashmi...


Bettina Peters Fund: Empowering women in media

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in media organisations despite a higher proportion of female students graduating from university journalism co...


Environmental journalism - Why local matters

They're subjects central to the way we live our lives and the survival of the planet and increasingly there's a link to many journalists' investigat...


A visual insight into the consequences of climate change

It may be a well-worn adage, but to a photojournalist a picture is worth every one of a beautifully-crafted thousand words. And in a digital age where that pict...


Creating greater transparency and accountability of government

By Henry O. Maina Government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is a...


Thomson Foundation appoints Caro Kriel as chief executive

Thomson Foundation has appointed Caro Kriel - a veteran journalist with more than 20 years' experience in international news - as its new chief executive. ...


Greatest reward: Helping to progress the careers of countless journalists

Thomson Foundation is unique: the place where the cut and thrust of the news industry meets the more strategic international media development sector. Every ye...


Giving Sudanese a voice in rebuilding their economy

Rebuilding Sudan's shattered economy after the 2019 uprising requires the country's journalists to understand and explain the key economic issues to the...


Giving Sudanese a voice in rebuilding their economy.

Rebuilding Sudan's shattered economy after the 2019 uprising requires the country's journalists to understand and explain the key economic issues to the...


Raised voices: Giving women a voice in local media

A unique research project in a remote district of north-west Pakistan has helped to empower women and give them a voice in local media. Thomson was approached...


Remote control: Covid-19 and the smartphone

Ask Spanish television reporter Leonor Su rez what role mobile journalism played during the first wave of the pandemic and she barely pauses for thought. Moj...


Staying Safe: Introducing a journalist s guide to covering protests

Nata a Kova ev is a reporter with the Balkans based 24 hour news channel N1. She is the instructor for our online learning course, Staying safe: Covering protes...


Hidden from view: Reporting on human trafficking and modern slavery

Every journalist wants to go on a rescue mission. But hidden from view, the human trafficking story is one of the most challenging, complex and ethically testin...


Challenges of becoming a journalist in a restrictive society

Maryam Anam is an aspiring young radio journalist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a region in north-west Pakistan where women's voices are rarely heard. She is being...


Local news: rebuilding trust and relevance in the pandemic

As the old newsroom clich has it, all news is local. And despite being a global pandemic, the Covid-19 crisis has been felt first in our families, on our doors...


Hard truths in Peru: Journalism without fear or favour

World Voices: Mart n Leandro Camacho, Peru Secuestraron mi pais. Emblazoned on a protest placard and photographed by Peruvian journalist, Mart n Leandro C...


My fellowship in a year of Covid-19

A fellowship with Thomson Media didnt go quite as Hend Kheiralla expected in the pandemic. At home in Sudan, I was used to working remotely for digital enterpr...


Why messaging apps put us in the right place at the right time

You're in a queue. How likely is it that you'll check your messages on your mobile phone? Even the least digital amongst us is spending 30 minutes a day...


Martin Leandro Camacho: The compassionate face of Peru

PROFILE: Young Journalist Award 2020 winner Mart n Leandro Camacho has always been passionate about being compassionate. The 27-year-old spent the formative...


Grounded by coronavirus: The challenges of virtual practical training

Grounded by Covid-19, our trainers have been learning new skills to be able to impart their expertise to their journalist trainees with promising results. Th...


Messaging Apps: Tackling training in the pandemic

Covid-19 may have forced our workshops online but by innovation and experimentation our trainers have continued to teach and mentor often on less conventional p...


When e-workshops are exciting - a blog by Khalida Niaz

Khalida Niaz is a journalist with the Tribal News Network based in Peshawar, Pakistan. She was amongst a group of editors and managers taking part in a course r...