Reporting the Mexico border

Angela Kocherga talks to Poynter about the dangers of reporting from Mexico, particularly around the border cities of Juárez where drug crime and killing are rife,

How difficult is it for you, as a journalist, to do your job in Mexico? I assume journalists feel constantly threatened as they cover stories about killings and crime.

First I want to point out that the Mexican journalists who live in Juárez and other conflict zones are most at risk. Some journalists have disappeared, and others have been killed over the past few years while covering the drug story. Attackers have targeted both newspaper and TV station offices in Mexico. Most recently, anchors at a Televisa station in Monterrey, Mexico, asked for help on the air when someone threw a grenade at the station during a newscast.

Even so, I used to feel a false sense of security in Mexico because I am a U.S. journalist. I think all of us working as correspondents in Mexico believed the drug traffickers did not want the extra attention that might result from killing a U.S. reporter. “It’s bad for their business,” law enforcement sources told us. I say a false sense of security, though, because I no longer believe this is true. I think the escalating violence proves anything is possible.

And even if you are not targeted as a journalist, just working in Juárez means you could get caught in the crossfire or killed by common thugs who are carjacking and kidnapping people. That’s a risk all Juárez residents run everyday. link

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