A good friend, who is a former foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, recently told me about the pressure he got from his editors during a recent reporting stint along the U.S.-Mexico border. “They only wanted me to come up with the big story on the drug war, to find breaking news over and over again,” he said. “But nothing that big was happening in
By “action,” he was referring to the dozens of weekly reports of attacks, torture, murders, disappearances, and even what appears to be random violence in Juárez, directly across from El Paso, Texas—one of the safest cities in the United States. Between March and September of this year, at least 40 people who received treatment for drug addiction at rehab facilities in Juárez were killed by gunmen; the reason why they were targeted remains unclear. Last month, Juárez’ murder rate became the highest in the world, surpassing that of
While it’s incredibly important to denounce this violence and inform the public, the general reporting trend coming out of
Mexican journalists from both local and national papers and TV news programs are being silenced through violence and intimidation. When I visited Mexican border cities
But there is enlightening coverage in the
I don’t believe I’m alone in becoming a conflicted news reader: part of me wants the stories to go deeper and wider and part wants to avoid them altogether. Despite the challenges in telling the narcotics story, I hope that future coverage will go beyond the daily headlines—to ask questions about the purpose of this current war, and what should be (if at all) the role of the United States.
* Ruxandra Guidi is a contributing blogger to americasquarterly.org. She is an independent journalist based in