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Journalism in Violent Times: Mexican Journalists' Responses to Threats and Aggressions

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The aim of this chapter is to describe Mexican journalists' responses to constant threats and aggressions. In doing so, it draws on 93 semi-structured interviews conducted in 23 of the most violent states of the country. The results indicate that violence against news workers has a twofold set of implications for the practice of professional journalism: On the one hand, constant attacks on media staff have promoted the development of a more elaborated journalistic performance, based upon factual reporting, diversification of sources, collaborative coverage, and the creation of journalists' associations. On the other hand, however, in many cases the same situation has also inhibited reporters' and newsrooms' jobs by forcing them to self-censorship and the dependence on government official versions of sensitive issues such as crime news or corruption, amongst other passive routines. The simultaneous coexistence of both outcomes provides evidence of the operation of multiple journalisms within the Mexican media system.

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La prioridad de los medios de comunicación a tener de cliente principal al poder político ha resultado para los periodistas en explotación laboral y sometimiento profesional. Los medio de comunicación pagan un mísero salario a los periodistas y/o los utilizan de vendedores de publicidad adicional. Sin embargo, de forma subyacente, transfieren a quienes ocupan cargos representativos en gobierno, poder para intervenir y controlar la información que se publica en los medios impresos. A partir los testimonios de periodistas de referencia del Estado de México se busca probar en este estudio que el nivel salarial de los periodistas es el gancho para su participación en las redes de clientelismo mediático que redundan en la expansión del poder político y control social desde el manejo informativo de los medios de comunicación. En ese objetivo, se atraen a Hallin y Mancini (2004), como soporte de análisis, desde su propuesta conceptual de profesionalización a la que se busca incorporar como indicador la posición salarial de los periodistas.
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Based on qualitative responses from journalists working in 67 countries, this article presents evidence from a comparative assessment of normative journalistic roles. Different from other types of journalistic roles, normative roles refer to professional aspirations as to how journalism and journalists are supposed to contribute to society. While these roles are typically studied through standardized sets of statements, this study builds on journalists' own assessments of what should be the most important roles of journalism in their societies. The material for this analysis was obtained from the 2012-2016 wave of the Worlds of Journalism Study. Responses of 20,638 journalists from around the world yielded 45,046 references to journalistic roles. Results show that journalists still see their normative roles primarily in the political arena-a finding that is consistent across the countries investigated. In non-Western countries, journalists articulated a normative demand for intervention in social processes and a more constructive attitude toward ruling powers. Overall, our analysis demonstrates that the normative core of journalism around the world is still invariably built on the
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Why are some subnational states more dangerous for journalists? This exploratory article assesses the association of social variables with the murders of journalists within one single country, Mexico, where forty-one journalists were killed from 2010 to 2015. The article suggests that the violent deaths of journalists in Mexico's thirty-two states are more likely to happen in those subnational polities with high levels of social violence, internal conflict, severe violations of human rights, low democratic development, and economic inequality. The implications of this research and policy recommendations are discussed within the conclusion.
Book
Building on a survey of media institutions in eighteen West European and North American democracies, Hallin and Mancini identify the principal dimensions of variation in media systems and the political variables which have shaped their evolution. They go on to identify three major models of media system development (the Polarized Pluralist, Democratic Corporatist and Liberal models) to explain why the media have played a different role in politics in each of these systems, and to explore the forces of change that are currently transforming them. It provides a key theoretical statement about the relation between media and political systems, a key statement about the methodology of comparative analysis in political communication and a clear overview of the variety of media institutions that have developed in the West, understood within their political and historical context.
Book
This book examines the history of war reporting as well as the current situation for journalists covering conflict around the world. The authors interviewed 60 journalists for their reactions to the issue of journalists increasingly becoming targets. The book make some suggestions to mitigate this problem.
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A well-functioning press is crucial for sustaining a healthy democracy. While attacks on journalists occur regularly in many developing countries, previous work has largely ignored where and why journalists are attacked. Focusing on violence by criminal organizations (COs) in Mexico, we offer the first systematic, micro-level analysis of the conditions under which journalists are more likely to be violently targeted. Contrary to popular belief, our evidence reveals that the presence of large, profitable COs does not necessarily lead to fatal attacks against the press. Rather, the likelihood of journalists being killed only increases when rival criminal groups inhabit territories. Rivalry inhibits COs’ ability to control information leaks to the press, instead creating incentives for such leaks to be used as weapons to intensify official enforcement operations against rivals. Without the capacity to informally govern press content, rival criminals affected by such press coverage are more likely to target journalists.
Article
A dramatic increase in criminal violence in Mexico since 2007 has resulted in an estimated 60,000-70,000 “additional” homicides, often of an especially brutal form, related to drug trafficking and other organized-crime activities. This violence has been accompanied by a steep increase in rates of kidnapping and extortion and has targeted participants in the narcotics trade as well as government officials, journalists, and civil society activists. Despite the magnitude of the violence and enormous public concern about it, scholarly literature on this topic has been scant. This issue offers some of the most promising analyses conducted thus far on the trends in violence and their causes, focusing largely, though not exclusively, on the role Mexico’s government has played in the business of illegal drugs and the violence that accompanies it. In this introduction, we discuss the challenge of deriving reliable statistics on drug-related violence, its spatial and temporal patterns, prevailing explanations, its relationship to organized crime in general, and differences between this violence and substate political violence.
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What do citizens in the Netherlands expect from journalism? A large-scale survey shows that many audience expectations align fairly well with what experts and journalists consider important democratic functions of the press. We refer to these expectations as Civic Demands. In addition, more at odds with the profession's view, the audience wants journalism to take Citizen Demands into account: the complaints and wishes of citizens. We explore how these demands relate to audience characteristics and news media use. Findings suggest that journalists and citizens could very well cooperate in securing a future for high-quality journalism.
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Many professional journalists and journalism scholars consider the increasing attention paid to audiences as one of the causes of the gradual loss of journalistic quality. They reason if ratings, circulation figures, hits and shares determine the content of journalism, the core values of journalism become jeopardized. This article argues how and why studies of journalistic quality should take the actual readers, listeners and viewers of journalistic texts seriously. It reports on a different kind of research for measuring the public’s news interests and preferences; one that concentrates on value – what makes journalism precious for people and how news organizations can provide this. By zooming in on the professionals’ and public’s experience of quality information instead of their views on the topic, the article shows how pleasing the audience might be compatible with producing excellent journalism.
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Increasingly, scholars have come to see the news media as playing a pivotal role in shaping whether social movements are able to bring about broader social change. By drawing attention to movements’ issues, claims, and supporters, the news media can shape the public agenda by influencing public opinion, authorities, and elites. Why are some social movement organizations more successful than others at gaining media coverage? Specifically, what organizational, tactical, and issue characteristics enhance media attention? We combine detailed organizational survey data from a representative sample of 187 local environmental organizations in North Carolina with complete news coverage of those organizations in 11 major daily newspapers in the two years following the survey (2,095 articles). Our analyses reveal that local news media favor professional and formalized groups that employ routine advocacy tactics, mobilize large numbers of people, and work on issues that overlap with newspapers’ focus on local economic growth and well-being. Groups that are confrontational, volunteer-led, or advocate on behalf of novel issues do not garner as much attention in local media outlets. These findings have important implications and challenge widely held claims about the pathways by which movement actors shape the public agenda through the news media.
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President Fox has made the improvement of public safety and reduction in corruption priorities of his government. Backed by an educated urban middle-class electorate, he faces fundamental challenges to the achievement of his goals. These include a legacy of institutionalized PRI (Institutionalized Revolutionary Party) corruption, limited respect for the rule of law, and the penetration of drug trafficking groups into the state structure. Mexico's long border with the United States has contributed to the rapid rise in organized crime and the use of Mexican territory by foreign crime groups. Mexico's past may preclude the transition to a more democratic and open society despite the best of presidential intentions and the desires of much of the Mexican population.