Posted by: calloftheandes | October 31, 2012

Communications Graduates Challenged to Report the Truth Without Frills

Graduates of the Christian Center of Communications/Northwestern College (CCC/NWC) in Ecuador were challenged with the professional standard of seeking truth as journalists, and then telling it straight.

Addressing six of this year’s seven graduates at a ceremony in Quito last weekend, Augustín Garcells acknowledged free-speech challenges presently confronting Ecuador’s privately owned media.

Then the communication school’s professor encouraged his former students to wade into the fray while purposing to remain true to their principles with a quote from late Polish journalist and historian, Ryszard Kapuściński: “You cannot be a good journalist without being a good person.” As to crafting a story, he cited Albert Einstein’s advice that, “If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.”

A second adjunct professor, Alejandro Querejeta, talked about learning to work as a journalist in Cuba decades ago. He said in an environment where civil liberties were repressed and Christians were persecuted, he had not been a follower of Christ.

Augustín Garcells

“My life had no compass,” explained Querejeta, associate director at La Hora newspaper and author of the book, Periodismo de Investigación (Investigative Journalism). Then, even after finding a relationship with the Savior, he kept his faith a secret from the authorities. Finally, when he arrived in Ecuador, he said, “I didn’t have to lie!” and he could openly declare his beliefs. He referred to it as “a uniting of his past, present and future.”

Querejeta warned of encountering “bad feelings, hypocrisy and lies” ahead, but reminded his students they have an obligation to remain honest. They must carry biblical truth in their hearts and reveal it by what they do, he said. “The Bible isn’t a theory, but a continuous practice of life.”

Alejandro Querejeta

Under Ecuador’s Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (National Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation or SENESCYT), the graduates were awarded three-year technologist degrees. Northwestern, based in St. Paul, Minn., also awarded each graduate an associate degree in applied sciences and Bible.

The graduates included Joffre Herrera, Priscila Muñoz, Liz Quinto, Bryan Rubio, Mauricio Terán, Román Miranda and Elizabeth Sutherland. Sutherland was unable to attend the ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 22, as she is continuing her studies at Northwestern.

Nearly 200 people have graduated from the CCC/NWC since HCJB Global began the school in 1984. Since 2001, at least 11 of the graduates have completed an additional 27 credits toward their bachelor’s degrees from the Minnesota college.
For HCJB Global missionaries Elsi Peñaranda and Ruth Ann De Flon, it was their last graduation of the communications school before entering retirement. The executive director of the Latin America Region recently appointed a former student, Mary De la Torre, to lead the communications school, replacing Peñaranda, the outgoing director. There will be just one more graduating class in 2013. The school ceased enrolling new students in 2011 due to financial shortfalls.

De Flon, an English professor at the school, arrived in Ecuador as a nurse 44 years ago, later working in communications. Peñaranda, who has served for 34 years with the mission, led the 2012 graduates in a pledge of Christian service. De Flon also offered a prayer.

From Minnesota Elizabeth Sutherland greeted her fellow graduates via a video message

Three of the graduates, Muñoz, Rubio and Sutherland, are the children of HCJB Global staff members. Muñoz’s father, Xavier, worked as a counselor at Radio Station HCJB. Rubio presently works at the station, as do his parents, Dairo and Luz Marina Rubio. His music program, Especialísimo, airs daily on the station and the ALAS-HCJB satellite network. Sutherland is the daughter of missionaries Steve and Kathy Sutherland who worked at the station’s former international transmitter site at Pifo, Ecuador, and now serve with HCJB Global-Australia.

The CCC/NWC has enjoyed accreditation on two continents, including excellent audit evaluations by two Ecuadorian government agencies that regulate higher education. The program received an “A” rating by Ecuador’s Consejo Nacional de Acreditación y Certificación de la Educación Superior (CONEA) whereas the forerunner to SENESCYT scored the program at 98 percent.


  1. […] a Cuban national, has lived in Ecuador for some 20 years. He came to study communications at the CCC where he and Torres met. They married and started their own production […]

  2. […] in Fergus Falls, Minn. However, his media career began at age 20 when he joined the media staff of Northwestern College (now called University of Northwestern-St. Paul), working there for 34 years (1967 to […]

  3. […] late 1980s she sat under Gowan’s teaching at the Quito-based Centro Cristiano de Comunicaciones (Christian Center of Communications or CCC), formerly operated by Reach Beyond in Ecuador. The relationship moved to boss/employee and […]

  4. […] is her hometown and the city where she and her husband graduated from the biblically based Christian Center of Communications (CCC) at Reach Beyond, a three-year university program that closed in 2013. They presently reside […]

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