Two photographers for the Mexican daily newspaper El Diario de Juarez were shot Thursday by unidentified gunmen outside the newspaper offices. Luis Carlos Santiago, a 21-year-old recently-hired photographer, was killed; and another photographer interning at the paper was injured.
The assistant editorial director of El Diario, Pedro Torres Estrada has called the attack one against “all journalism in Juarez.”
“We consider this an attack against our profession and an attack against El Diario itself once again,” he told the newspaper Reforma in an interview.
The incident comes nearly two years after the murder of Armando Rodriguez, a veteran El Diario reporter who was killed in the process of covering a spate of organized-crime slayings that have since made Juarez internationally-known as one of the world’s most dangerous cities. His murder remains unsolved.
The Diario de Juarez is one of the few Mexican border newspapers that continues to offer extensive coverage of its home city – reporting diligently on the good and the bad. Journalists there regularly make superhuman efforts to make sure that readers do not forget the human cost of the violence in their city.
Several El Diario journalist have shared their experiences and their tips at IRE workshops and conferences. El Diario reporter Martin Orquiz, who eloquently described the difficulties his on-going work at the IRE Las Vegas conference, is among those staff members who are mourning in Juarez today. And he’s also continuing to cover the news. (IRE members can listen to his panel here.)
The latest report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Silence or Death in the Mexican Press, describes how a virtual media blackout exists in many parts of Mexico because of killings/kidnappings and threats to journalists. The Diario de Juarez is one of the few border state newspapers bucking this ominous trend. Indeed El Diario has a long tradition of supporting investigative reporting.
IRE has an ongoing border workshop initiative where we as an organization have actively tried to encourage partnerships between US and Mexican journalists and support coverage under difficult circumstances. The next event will be in Laredo, Texas, on November 12-13.
IRE plans to continue to explore ways to assist colleagues in Mexico, particularly those who have courageously continued to attempt to do investigative reporting and to simply cover the news in such troubled times.