“The Most Dangerous Place to Practice Journalism” a lecture by Alfredo Corchado

“Explain to us what you want from us, so we know what to abide by. You are at this time the de facto authorities in this city because the legal authorities have not been able to stop our colleagues from falling.”
Editorial in El Diario de Juárez
published in Sept. 2010

Helen, Mark and I scooted to the Rothko Chapel last night for the final lecture about the drug cartels in Mexico. Alfredo Corchado lectured about the practice of journalism in cities like Juárez, where journalists have been targets.

On the whole, the lecture was an overview of the situation and a re-iteration of the fragments that I’ve heard on NPR. Corchado defended editorials like the one above and repeated several times that ‘no story is worth dying for.’ His main point: journalists are at a point where they’ll likely censor their own stories in order to assure safety for themselves and their families. While I’m sure that’s true, it’s more likely that the newspaper is also trying to gain a wider audience–draw more American attention to the conflict and of course, sell papers. This last thought makes me a little ill, but I can’t help but believe it’s true. Papers are dying, right? Why the intense focus on traditional forms of media when the blogosphere can communicate all relevant information without endangering its writers? Why isn’t there a strategy to harness a more decentralized approach to covering these conflicts? Am I missing something or being naive?

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