Archiving the Work of Murdered Journalists…

The Delicate Race to Archive the Work of Murdered Journalists—Before It Disappears

157 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000. Many ran self-funded blogs, websites, and Facebook pages.


Summarized by Merlin app:
  • Mexico is one of the deadliest countries for reporters in the world:
    • Between 2000 and 2022, 157 journalists were killed in Mexico, making it one of the deadliest countries for reporters in the world.
    • Journalists are targeted and killed execution-style, often for reporting on daily life in their towns.
  • Nana Pelucas was a satirical YouTuber who was killed for her work:
    • Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real, also known as Nana Pelucas, was a satirical YouTuber who was killed in 2018.
    • Her content included funny skits on local politics and interviews with local businessmen and politicians.
  • Most murdered journalists in Mexico worked locally and precariously:
    • Most often, the journalists who are murdered in Mexico are those who worked locally and precariously.
    • They reported on everything from a fight between drunken neighbors and the town’s soccer match to elections and roads.
  • The work of murdered journalists was often opinionated hyperlocal news:
    • The work of murdered journalists in Mexico was often daily, unwavering, and opinionated hyperlocal news and citizen reporting.
    • They called out negligent politicians, unpopular kingpins, and corrupt businessmen, and demanded better public services and accountability.
  • The archive of murdered journalists preserves their work:
    • The first and only archive that preserves the work of Mexico’s murdered journalists was created to help shed some light on unsolved cases and serve as a tool to study patterns of violence.
    • The archive demonstrates that the crimes against local journalists are expansive attacks on free expression and participation in civic life.
  • The murders of Mexican journalists are rarely solved:
    • The murders of Mexican journalists are rarely solved, and even when they are, only hit men are ever prosecuted, leaving the masterminds to roam free.
    • That is why the archive was created, to provide qualitative information that could help shed some light on unsolved cases and serve as a tool to study patterns of violence.
  • The work of murdered journalists was brutally dangerous:
    • The work of murdered journalists in Mexico was low-budget, passion-driven, community-centered, and brutally dangerous.
    • They were targeted and killed for unequivocally denouncing abuses of power and participating in civic life.
  • Nana Pelucas’ website no longer exists:
    • The website for El Sillón magazine, which Nana Pelucas and her husband ran, no longer exists.
    • Her murder remains unsolved.
  • Killed journalists’ work often disappears:
    • Journalists killed in Mexico often self-financed their work and had other sources of income, which is why their work often disappears after they’re killed.
    • Montenegro del Real’s videos are an exception, as most of her work is still available on YouTube.
  • Lost work of killed journalists:
    • Pacheco Beltrán’s online outlet was lost after payment for the domain stopped years after his death.
    • Ricardo Monlui Cabrera’s website disappeared months after his murder.
    • Rubén Pat Cauich, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib, and Francisco Romero Díaz’s work was lost after being flagged as sensitive content and taken down from Facebook.
  • Preserving the work of killed journalists:
    • The archive launched in 2019 has preserved over 12,000 clips from 43 journalists.
    • The digital repository can be used for qualitative analysis to design better public policy to prevent violence against local reporters and citizen journalists.
    • Collaborations with companies like Meta could help journalists evaluate risk based on the reach of their content, the sensitivity of its timing in their local context, and the reaction to it.
  • Honoring the legacy of murdered journalists:
    • Preserving and engaging with the work of murdered journalists is key to honoring their legacy.
    • It is also important to protect Mexican journalists who continue to speak truth to power with very few resources.

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