Journalism at Risk: Stories of Journalists Telling Tijuana’s Story

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Just 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego, reporters from Tijuana’s news organizations work together to tell the city’s story.

But these journalists are under threat.

In one week in January, photojournalist Margarita Martínez Esquivel and reporter Lourdes Maldonado were killed outside their homes.

The high-profile killings in a city with a long history of crimes against the press were a chilling reminder of the dangers of reporting in Mexico, where some 150 journalists have been killed in the past 30 years.

These are the stories of the people telling the story of Tijuana.

(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

In response to the growing threats, a group of reporters have come together to call on the government for more protection. Yo Sí Soy Periodista, or “Yes, I’m a Journalist,” is hosted by Sonia de Anda, a longtime reporter from Tijuana.

(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Arturo Rosales is often the only photojournalist covering events that unfold in the middle of the night in Tijuana, a city where the homicide rate regularly exceeds 2,000 murders a year.

He sells his footage to various news organizations and regularly broadcasts live from the scene of murders, car accidents and fires.

(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Aimee Melo had been working in the Tijuana press office for less than two years when she was sent to cover the horrific story.

Her colleague Margarita Martinez had just been killed in front of his house.

(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

In 2019, Inés García left the weekly Zeta and founded Punto Norte together with Isái Lara Bermúdez.

The organization’s reporters document daily life in the city, but they are also tasked with working on the front lines of danger.

(Alejandro Tamayo/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Gabriela Martinez, a journalist and producer from Tijuana, credits her colleagues with saving her life.

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