UTSA hosts Nov. 11-12 seminars on journalists covering Mexico drug war

Bernardo Ruiz
Alfredo Corchado

Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (top) and journalist Alfredo Corchado

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(Nov. 7, 2013) -- The UTSA Honors College and UTSA Mexico Center will present "Between Peril and Promise: Reporting Mexico in the Age of Narco War," a pair of free, public seminars Nov. 11-12 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The seminars will expose the dangers and experiences faced by journalists who have reported on the Mexican drug war since it began in 2006.

At 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11, UTSA will offer a free screening of "Reportero," a documentary produced by Guanajuato, Mexico-born filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz. The documentary follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for news media. In Mexico, more than 40 journalists have been killed or vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon came to power and launched a government offensive against the country's powerful drug cartels and organized crime groups.

At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, Dallas Morning News Mexico correspondent Alfredo Corchado will read from his new book, "Midnight in Mexico, a Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness." The book recounts how Corchado witnessed and recorded the rise of the Narco War, even as his life was threatened. The book offers a charismatic testimonio of Corchado's compromiso as a Mexican-born American journalist reporting on his "other" homeland.

Each event will be preceded by a 6:15 p.m. reception that is free and open to the public. Following each seminar, John Phillip Santos, UTSA Honors College Distinguished Scholar in Mestizo Cultural Studies, will interview each journalist. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The Nov. 11 event will be in UTSA's Buena Vista Theater (1.326). The Nov. 12 event will be in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328). Both events are at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Additionally, free parking will be available for both events in lot D-3 under Interstate 35.

The Mexican drug war began in 2006, when the Mexican government announced a policy to actively fight drug cartels and drug-related violence in the country. The ongoing conflict has pitted Mexican drug cartels against each other, the Mexican government and the country's citizens. Arrests of key drug lords have likewise heightened the ongoing Mexican violence.

Estimates of lives lost range from 60,000 to 100,000, and the spiraling violence continues today. Since the war began, courageous journalists have continued to report the drama underlying the carnage, often at great personal risk. Their work testifies to the great dangers facing Mexico and the periodic glimmers of hope for a society struggling to renew itself and affirm a vision of a peaceful nation in the future.

>> Learn more about the UTSA Honors College and UTSA Mexico Center.