Round Earth Media

Haiti, Mexico & Our Journalists

December 9, 2016

We’re going back to Mexico

And for the first time to Haiti!

We are very pleased to announce a new Round Earth Media reporting project in Mexico (from the highlands of Chiapas and the Yucatan) along with Haiti, which will be our first time reporting from that country.  This reporting project, supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will focus on racial and gender inequities and will employ our unique partnership model (an American journalist partnered with a journalist from in-country).

We started in Mexico in 2005 with two grants from Kellogg and we are delighted that the Foundation is supporting us again.  As we return, our attention is, of course, on the safety of our journalists.

“Since 2000, only Iraq and Syria have been more deadly for journalists than Mexico, and neither country has experienced the same sustained levels of violence against reporters.  Yet Mexico is not a war zone. It has a democratically elected government, functioning institutions, and is the United States’ third most important trading partner. How then do we understand the unique conditions of this violence against the media?” This is according to a recent study by the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.

It’s commonly thought that eliminating drug cartels would make journalists safer — that journalists covering organized crime are at the most risk.  But this new study draws a surprising conclusion.

“The biggest threat to freedom of expression comes from state actors [ie politicians and police], and anonymity is the greatest risk factor for journalists: there is a much greater cost to persecuting those reporters whose names and work are internationally known. In the short term, then, we can support Mexican journalists by reading and sharing their work.”

We agree.  Reading, sharing and working with reporters from Mexico provides some measure of safety. We look forward to working with these brave young journalists and know that our partnership approach does help to create an”institutional culture that tolerates critical journalism.”While I’m on the subject of Mexico, Round Earth and our partners (US reporter Marlon Bishop, Mexican reporter Alicia Fernandez [her amazing story in Spanish is here], and Studio 360 which broadcast the report) just won a National Headliner Award, one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit. Congratulations to this superb partnership.  Click on the photo for The Peculiar Sadness of a Toothbrush, a story that looks beyond politics to the humanity and pain suffered by migrants.

Finding humanity behind the headlines — no matter what story we’re covering — that is the mission and the passion of all us at Round Earth.

Warmest regards,

Round Earth media is a non-profit supporting young journalists around the world, enabling them to find and tell stories the world needs to hear.

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