Citizen Journalists: Courage in Mexico

“A few months ago a blogger and student from the prestigious Tec de Monterrey university penned her account of a nearby shootout between soldiers and drug traffickers that left two graduate students dead. She describes in her blog post how she used Twitter to post her observations and to stay up to date with information from others.
What we don’t know is why she stuck around; what compelled her to report, cell phone in hand, when she was clearly putting her life at risk. But what we do know is that she is hardly alone. Regular citizens are becoming increasingly involved in the reporting, distribution, and analysis of information related to organized crime, drug trafficking, and public security.

There are countless photos and videos of shootouts in Torreón, for example, that are published by citizens to their blogs and Twitter accounts. Even musician Jenni Rivera became a citizen reporter for a few hours in April when her concert was canceled due to a shootout that took place just before she was to take the stage.
The next day, according to an article by Paola Alín Martínez for Milenio, Twitter users in Tampico expressed their outrage and concern about the level of violence in their city.
Meanwhile the anonymous blogger “M1zAr” who described the shootout at Tec de Monterrey headed back to school the next day to take a major exam. The walls of the security booth were freshly painted white to hide the previous night’s coat of blood.
…if we look at web traffic statistics from Alexa, we see that Blog del Narco now receives roughly twice as many visits as the Torreón’s major newspaper, and has also exceeded at times the number of visits to both El Norte and La Reforma. And this is a blog written by just two young students. Ackerman is insane to think that Blog del Narco has not “played a strong role in reporting incidents ignored by online or print reporters.”

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