How do journalists in Mexico report on organised crime: Representing the facts, interpretation, and self-critique
Díaz Cerveró, Elba
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Among the many outcomes of the so-called War on Drugs, Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalism. Besides killings and kidnappings, journalists are also frequent victims of beatings, arbitrary detentions, and online harassment, as well as many other acts of aggression. Anti-press violence has an evident impact on Mexican journalists' daily activities, particularly as related to the coverage of organised crime. The endemic risk that news workers constantly face determines how they represent and interpret the stories they report on when it comes to this issue. Thus, this inquiry aims to analyse the practices that reporters and editors implement during the news-making process when covering cartels' activities. In doing so, this paper draws on a set of in-depth interviews with news workers from Mexico's main national newspapers, and from all the states where journalists were killed in 2017. The main findings indicate that there is a lack of written norms for the coverage of organised crime, and that reporters refer to criminals with a sense of familiarity. In addition, this study contributes to the understanding of journalists' decisions in the field when doing their job, especially in dangerous conditions. © 2021 Doron Fakultet Politickih Znanosti. All rights reserved.