Examining the Practices That Mexican Journalists Employ to Reduce Risk in a Context of Violence

Sallie Hughes, Mireya Márquez-Ramírez

Abstract


Research on journalists working in contexts of risk has examined either war correspondents on temporary assignments or the psychological effects of covering traumatic events, usually after the events have ended. Although these studies are important, they fail to account for the growing importance of ongoing violence in insecure democracies and its possible consequences for national journalistic practice. We address these issues by examining journalists’ risk-reduction practices in Mexico, including self-censorship, following company censorship policies, curtailing street reporting, and concealing sensitive information. Using logistic regressions, we tested occupational, organizational, normative, and contextual conditions as predictors of engagement in these practices. Findings reveal the pervasiveness of risk-reduction practices in Mexico and the complexity of conditions prompting their use, including conditions related to antipress violence, dangerous newsbeats, and the economic insecurity of media firms but also voicing greater support for assertive professional norms. The research sets a baseline for future comparative research that includes greater attention to subnational conditions, dangerous newsbeats, and how violence and uneven state capacity may undermine the economic conditions of media firms.


Keywords


journalism practice, insecure democracies, violence, risk, Mexico

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