Sunday, May 20, 2007

Covering The Border

Covering the Border break-out session really appealed to me, not only because of the interesting stories told, but because I am an immigrant. Many of the conference sessions dealt with immigration and border issues, and gave me a reporter’s view of issues facing America.

Alfredo Corchado, Mexico City writer for the Dallas Morning News, and Mariano Castillo, San Antonio Express-News border reporter, discussed issues of illegal activity around the Mexican-American border.

"It is difficult to tell the story from the Mexico side because of the violence," said Corchado. “There is an effort to silence the voices along the border of the Mexican-American reporters."

The drug cartel is a powerful organization that makes it difficult to conduct interviews. According to Castillo, people are skeptical to talk to journalists because they are not sure if the journalists are legitimate or work undercover for the cartel. Also, in six years, 34 Mexican journalist have been killed or become missing.

“The two most dangerous places for a journalist to work today are, first, Irag and second, Mexico" said Corchado.

"80 percent of what I report is on the drug cartel,” said Castillo. “Narco [narcotics] traffic is the biggest story on the border."

Corchado spends most of his time on the border covering murders. He mentioned that murders happen on the border all time. Although they are not always in the news does not mean they are not happening. He also commented on the increase of 10 or 12 murders in just the past few weeks.
"It has become more difficult to investigate murders," said Corchado. “The Cartel is doing a better job of getting rid of the bodies."