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IRE Board statement on the death of Armando Rodriguez

The members of the Board of Directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors would like to express our regret and indignation over the murder of veteran crime reporter Armando Rodriguez. His complete coverage of more than 1,300 murders in Ciudad Juarez this year provided key information to all of us about the changing nature of the violent attacks launched by drug traffickers in Mexico.

We recognize that it has become increasingly difficult for newspapers to cover what is happening on the border, especially since civilians and journalists are now frequent targets of these attacks. Because of this alarming trend, it is more important than ever that journalists band together to support continued coverage.

El Diario has long been a leader in investigative reporting in Mexico and has set an example for border coverage. For years, its editors and owners have been strong supporters of investigative reporting and investigative reporting training initiatives.

IRE's own relationship with El Diario stretches back more than a decade.

Both Armando Rodriguez and his editor, Rocio Gallegos, were members of IRE's Mexico project, which lasted from 1996-98. The newspaper was the principal sponsor of IRE Mexico's first border conference in 1997. In recent years, the newspaper funded a master's degree program in investigative reporting for its employees at the University of Texas at El Paso. Gallegos also spoke at the 2007 IRE Conference in Phoenix on Mexico's open records laws.

We honor that work and that commitment. We sincerely hope that El Diario will continue its long-standing practice of thoroughly reporting on criminal incidents and of supporting investigative reporting despite this tragedy.

We also support the newspaper's efforts and those of both The Inter-American Press Association/Sociedad Interamericana de la Prensa and the Committee to Protect Journalists to push for justice in this case. The problem of impunity in border crimes deeply concerns IRE. We are conscious of the fact that both U.S. and Mexican journalists have lost their lives over the last decade in murders that regrettably remain unsolved.

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