The staff of the weekly newspaper Riodoce normally meets on Wednesdays to review its plans for coverage of the most recent mayhem wrought in Sinaloa state by organized crime, corrupt officials and ceaseless drug wars. But on this day, in the shadow of their own tragedy, they’ve come together to talk about security.
It’s important to change their routines, they are told. Be more careful with social media. Don’t leave colleagues alone in the office at night. Two senior journalists discuss what feels safer: to take their children with them to the office, which was the target of a grenade attack in 2009, or to leave them at home.
Security experts have written three words on a blackboard at the front of the room: adversaries, neutrals, allies. They ask the reporters to suggest names for each column — no proof is needed, perceptions and gut feelings are enough
Allies are crucial. In an emergency, they would need a friend, a lawyer, an activist to call.
The longest list, by far, is enemies. There are drug traffickers, politicians, businesspeople, journalists suspected of being on the payroll of the government or the cartels, a catalog of villains who make the job of covering Mexico’s chaos perilous.
There is no respite from the violence, and as bodies pile up across the country, more and more of them are journalists: at least 25 since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, with at least seven dead in seven states so far this year. A total of 589 have been placed under federal protection after attacks and threats.
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