Former AP editor’s new book tells stories of journalists killed in Mexico

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We talk about journalism, a highly gratifying but challenging career. In some countries, being a journalist is risky. Mexico is the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists. So far, 14 journalists have been killed this year, according to Reporters Without Borders. Here to talk about her new book on one of those cases is Katherine Corcoran, an independent journalist who served as the AP bureau chief in Mexico City. She is also the author of the recently-released book, “In the mouth of the wolf.”

You cover the story of a journalist, Regina Mertinez, who was killed. Why is this case so important?

Corcoran said that the government would downplay the deaths of these journalists, by saying they “weren’t real journalists,” claiming they were corrupt and not independent.

“When Regina was killed, we knew for sure that that was an attempt to silence a journalist, and suppress. Because she was very well known as being honest, tenacious, a real digger… she asked questions to find out what was really going on down on the ground. And she was very uncomfortable to the authorities for that reason.” 

You mention some journalists accept bribes from organized crime but also from the government?

Traditionally, according to Corcoran, the authoritarian government previously would pay off the press to keep them quiet. The same practice was kept up when “the narcos came in.”

“But by the time that Regina was reporting, there were a lot of reporters trying to buck that tradition and trying to be real, independent, honest journalists, and they were the ones who became targets, because they weren’t following the old rules.”

 Do stories like these make you want to stop doing journalism?

No, said Corcoran.

“It’s actually the opposite. What I really wanted to show in this book is what journalists do. I think a lot of people don’t understand what we do. I don’t think they understand how we gather our information and then we verify. It’s a different kind of information from just everything you see out there on the Internet, that we have standards, that we have ethics, and she was a reporter who really made a difference in the stories that she wrote. And I really wanted to show that to people, what journalists do for a society, but also what happens when the independent press goes away.”

Katherine Corcoran- author, former AP bureau chief

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