By Elva Narcia
If significance, proximity, prominence and human interest are the factors that decide if a story is newsworthy, migration should be top of the list in Mexican newsrooms.
To put things in context, Mexico sees 400,000 undocumented people, mainly Central Americans, cross it every year on their way to the United States; about 12 million Mexicans live overseas, most of them in the US; and every year billions of dollars are sent back home as remittances.
Mexico’s northern border with the United States is about 3,000 km long and goes across six Mexican States: Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas. The region is inhabited by about four million people.
The southern border on the other hand, often described as porous, divides Mexico from Guatemala and Belize, the latter a former British colony, is 1,179km long and has a population of over a million and a half.
Even though immigration in Mexico has great relevance that doesn’t show in mainstream media; in fact, activists, academics and even journalists believe that the migration story is of no interest to newsrooms unless some kind of human tragedy is involved.
There are some cases of outstanding investigative journalism, mainly from big newspapers and digital news sites, but the news of the day is usually covered by press releases, press conferences, news agencies and perhaps something more in-depth with reports from correspondents on the southern or northern borders.
Journalist Elio Henriquez, based in the southern state of Chiapas for Mexican newspaper La Jornada, regularly covers migration stories focusing on transit, detentions, human rights abuses, protests and human trafficking. To cover the stories he, as other correspondents do, often talks to activists, civil society organisations or visits shelters for migrants but, as he admits, accessing official information is not easy.
This article is taken from the Ethical Journalism Network's report 'Moving Stories - International Review of How Media Cover Migration'
About the author
Elva Narcia is a media development specialist with professional work experience in Norway, Spain, UK, Mexico, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Sudan. She is the founder and director general of Glifos Comunicaciones, the first media for development communications agency in Latin America. For 15 years previously was an award winner Senior Journalist with the BBC World Service.
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