Executive Director Lynne Walker meets with reporters and editors on journalist safety in Ciudad Juárez

Lynne_Walker
Lynne_Walker
InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker instructed a two-day workshop for reporters and editors in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on investigative journalism and journalist safety. Photo by Gustavo Cabullo Madrid

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker met with reporters and editors in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on May 15-16, 2017, to instruct a two-day workshop on investigative journalism and journalist safety.

In Ciudad Juarez, more than 30 investigative reporters and editors from the city’s leading print, radio and television outlets participated in six hours of interactive training led by Walker.

During the first session of the workshop organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Walker shared techniques for gaining access and finding sources. The second and final day of the workshop, Walker led a training exercise on interview techniques and organizing and writing an investigative story.

Rocio Gallegos, editorial director of El Diario, looks at a map of Ciudad Juarez marked with the areas of the city where the worst outbreaks of drug violence have occurred. Photo by S. Lynne Walker/InquireFirst

A key focus of the workshop was journalist safety. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mexico is one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists. On the list of the world’s deadliest places to be a reporter, Mexico falls between the war-torn nation of Afghanistan and the failed state of Somalia. Last year, 11 Mexican journalists were killed, the country’s highest tally this century, the New York Times reported.

March was the worst month on record for Mexico, according to Article 19, a group that tracks crimes against journalists worldwide. At least seven journalists were shot across the country in March — outside their front doors, relaxing in a hammock, leaving a restaurant, out reporting a story, according to the Times.

On May 15, Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter whose coverage focused on drug trafficking and organized crime, was shot to death in the northern state of Sinaloa outside the offices of the publication he co-founded, Rio Doce.

During a private breakfast with news directors from El Diario, the leading newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Radiorama and Net Multimedia, Walker listened as they desctibed the challenges faced by news organizations in the border city. During the discussion, the news directors agreed to begin convening regular meetings to strengthen journalism in Ciudad Juarez.

In the newsroom of El Diario, Walker met with Editorial Director Rocio Gallegos to talk about ways that investigative journalism organizations such as El Diario and InquireFirst can work together on cross-border stories.

The Investigative Journalism & Journalist Safety workshop resulted in two important takeaways for editors and reporters. First, they agreed to talk with top directors at their news organizations about implementing safety protocols. Second, they discussed inviting an international organization such as Article 19 to Ciudad Juarez to provide training sessions on protocols and journalist safety.

In the pressroom of El Diario, the most prominent daily newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, press operator Alberto Carillo looks through a freshly printed copy of the paper’s weekly magazine. The drug war has taken a toll on the 41-year-old newspaper, which has seen circulation drop by half since 2008. Photo by S. Lynne Walker

The workshop also served to encourage reporters and editors to keep striving for excellence in their reporting. Journalist Gustavo Cabullo described the workshop as demonstrating “the art of weaving a good story.” In a Facebook post during Walker’s workshop, Cabullo wrote, “today she reminds us of the excitement of a good story, of producing excellent journalism.”

The Ciudad Juarez workshop is the first in a series of professional training workshops that Walker will lead this year in Latin America. In June, Walker will spend two weeks working with journalists in Honduras and Guatemala on investigative reporting techniques. In October, she will organize and direct the 2017 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism workshop in San Francisco, Calif. And in November, Walker will travel to Bolivia to work with journalists in La Paz.

In the Honduran city of Tela on the north Caribbean coast, Walker will lead a two-day workshop on accurate sourcing and on producing thorough, balanced investigative journalism that results in greater transparency and good governance. During her trip to Honduras, Walker will conduct workshops in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.

Walker will also travel to Quetzaltenango and Cayala, Guatemala to share tools and techniques for investigative journalism with reporters, editors and university students. The workshops are being organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.


 

Executive Director Lynne Walker travels to 5 Mexican states to instruct journalism workshops

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker (center) instructed a journalism workshop for investigative reporters and editors in Monterrey, México.

S. Lynne Walker, executive director of InquireFirst, traveled to five Mexican states in September 2016 to instruct a series of investigative journalism and digital journalism workshops for reporters, editors, students and professors.

More than 150 journalists, university students and professors in Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Saltillo, Jalisco and Michoacan attended the journalism training sessions, which were organized by U.S. Consulates in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Ciudad Juarez and instructed by Walker in Spanish.

In Chihuahua City, Walker instructed a six-hour workshop over two days for print, radio and broadcast journalists, some of whom traveled several hours from distant cities to attend. The workshop focused on three key subjects: investigative reporting techniques, interview and writing techniques and an internationally accepted code of ethics for investigative reporters.

Walker also led a workshop on financing methods for on-line investigative promotes journalism. And she met with members of the Free Journalism Network (Red de Periodismo Libre), which promotes professional development while strengthening the investigative skills of colleagues covering crime and corruption.

In Coahuila, Saltillo, Walker led a Free the Press seminar that consisted of an interactive workshop attended by more than 40 journalists on developing an investigative story. More than 200 undergraduate students of communications, psychology, social work and social sciences at the Autonomous University of Coahuila, a state university founded in 1957, attended a lecture by Walker on “Borders, Migration and Investigative Reporting: Telling the Complex Story of International Migration.” Walker also met with academics and faculty to discuss the curriculum of the university’s new journalism program.

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker

Walker instructed a virtual session with journalists in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros as well as a seminar at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Monterrey with journalists from Monterrey, Saltillo and San Luis Potosi.

During the dynamic, interactive sessions, Walker worked with journalists on interview techniques to help them drill down on investigative subjects and get information for detail-rich, well-sourced investigative reports. Walker then worked with journalists on ways to organize the complex material into compelling investigative stories.

In Morelia, Michoacán, Walker met with approximately 25 reporters and editors to help them develop new ways of identifying credible sources for their investigative reports and focused the session on working with journalists to develop a story on international organized crime.

At Lake Chapala, Walker led a round-table discussion with regional/rural reporters who talked about the challenges they face in presenting credible news coverage.

Some 35 journalists at El Informador, Guadalajara’s newspaper of record, attended an interactive workshop led by Walker, who then met with the paper’s top editors about the future of print media in Mexico.

The final two days of the program were conducted in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara’s Digital Journalism Center. The program focused on reporting, organizing and writing investigative stories, journalism ethics and new financial models for online investigative journalism. Walker also conducted one-on-one consultations with the journalists participating in the program.


 

Workshop on high-risk reporting held in Mexican border city of Nogales

Nogales001 NOGALES, Mexico – This is a city of commerce, a bustling town leaning into the U.S.-Mexico border where billions of dollars of tomatoes and squash and peppers are shipped into the United States every year along with shiny Ford Fusions, computer electronics and parts for the aerospace industry.

Underneath this sunbaked city, another kind of product is crossing into the United States. Through a spider web of tunnels bored into a vast drainage system that connects Nogales, Mexico, to Nogales, Arizona, billions of dollars of marijuana and other drugs are being shipped to the U.S. market.

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker traveled to Nogales, Mexico, to meet with journalists to discuss new techniques for investigative and high-risk reporting. During the March 15-16 workshop organized by the U.S. Consulate in Nogales and the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, Walker spoke about tools and methods for finding and interviewing sources as well as organizing and writing investigative reports.

Walker also focused on cyber security, noting that investigative journalists are at risk because they actively use digital tools to contact sources and share information. She told Nogales journalists that they are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats when covering corruption, organized crime, human rights issues and abuses by authorities.

In addition to taking widely recommended measures such as using strong passwords and anti-virus software, Walker also suggested using secure email with encryption and tools that help users remain anonymous on the Internet.

Nogales01

The intensive workshop was designed to encourage a frank exchange with investigative journalists about the challenges they face as they probe sensitive subjects and present them to their audiences.

“The information you provided was invaluable,” said Lorenzo De la Fuente, director general of El Diario de Sonora.

In a separate session, Walker discussed safety protocols with investigative journalists. She told the Nogales journalists that the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has identified Mexico as one of the most dangerous countries outside a war zone for journalists.

As journalists report on dangerous subjects such as human trafficking and drug smuggling, Walker admonished them to follow protocols to ensure their safety. “No story is worth your life,” she said.

Walker also met with journalism students at the Nogales campus of the University of Sonora to discuss a code of ethics for reporting via social media.


 

Journalist security is the focus of symposium in Culiacán, México

Culiacan1

CULIACAN, México — Journalists are under seige in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, where notorious drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was captured in January after a fierce gun battle with soldiers.

Grenades have been hurled at El Debate, Culiacán’s largest-circulation newspaper. Gunmen have opened fire with AK-47s on the reception desk of Mazatlán office of the daily newspaper Noroeste. Journalists have been questioned at gunpoint. Some have disappeared. Others have been found dead.

In Sinaloa, a state described by a former governor as the “birthplace of drug trafficking in México,” InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker led a two-day symposium on investigative journalism and journalist safety.

Walker conducted the Spanish-language symposium Feb. 23-24 at the invitation of the U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo and the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana. It was the first investigative journalism workshop held in Culiacán for reporters and editors working in Sinaloa’s major cities.

Investigative reporting teams from the state’s leading newspapers — El Debate and Noroeste — attended, some traveling from the cities of Los Mochis and Mazatlán. Also attending were journalists from local newspapers as well as students and professors from the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, which hosted the program.

Walker worked with the investigative teams on tools and techniques for gaining access and finding sources. And she discussed interview techniques and organizing and writing an investigative story.

InquireFirst Executive Director S. Lynne Walker was joined by 30 journalists in Culiacan, Mexico, for a symposium on investigative journalism and journalist safety. Photo by Leobardo Montero

Walker also talked with journalists about protocols for protecting themselves and their colleagues while covering high-risk investigative stories.

“No story is worth your life,” Walker told them. “Each one of you knows the boundaries, the lines that cannot be crossed during your reporting. Do not cross those lines. We don’t want to mourn the loss of any more colleagues.”

Walker was a Latin América correspondent for Copley News Service for 15 years, covering México, Central América and Cuba from her base in México City. She was recognized with national and international journalism awards for her coverage, and in particular for her in-depth reports on organized crime and immigration.


 

Executive Director Lynne Walker leads journalism symposium in Guatemala

audience2

GUATEMALA CITY — InquireFirst.org Executive Director Lynne Walker instructed a week-long series of journalism training symposiums in Guatemala in February — the first under our organization’s international journalism symposium program.

Reporters, editors, media owners and university students in Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and Guatemala City attended the symposiums, which focused on new techniques for investigative journalism. The symposiums, held Feb. 7-13, were organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.

Almost 700 journalists, university students and professors attended the investigative journalism sessions, which were instructed by Walker in Spanish. Among the subjects discussed were developing an investigative news story, interviewing sources and organizing and writing investigative stories.

Iris Pérez, a journalist with LaRed.com who attended Walker’s symposium at Universidad Mariano Gálvez in Guatemala City, said, “After your presentation, my perspective about journalism has changed.”

Walker was also interviewed by television and radio stations across the country about the importance of investigative journalism, freedom of expression and journalist safety. She stressed the need for in-depth reporting as the country strives to strengthen its democracy and engage its citizens in decisions that affect the future of their country.

AudienceThe journalism training symposiums offered by InquireFirst aim to provide journalists in regions throughout the world with specialized training in investigative reporting that covers a wide range of subjects including corruption and organized crime, white collar fraud and the environment.

Walker is an experienced lecturer in Latin America on reporting techniques for journalists. For the past six years, she has offered week-long symposiums in Latin American countries including México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Argentina.

At InquireFirst, Walker will lead the journalism symposium program which will be focused on offering training to journalists in Latín América, the Middle East and África as well as to university students who represent the next generation of journalists.


 

Technology, Innovation & Journalism

Shutterstock

December 7-8, 2017
México City, México
Technology, Innovation & Journalism

Executive Director Lynne Walker will participate as a trainer in a México City TechCamp organized by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

The TechCamp aims to increase the digital literacy, media safety and investigative journalism skills of almost 60 participants from México, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The participants are working as independent journalists, as part of investigative units or in traditional media outlets on issues where they face censorship or physical harm.

Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age

LE PICTORIUM/Alamy Stock Photo

November 9-11, 2017
La Paz, Bolivia
Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age

Reporters and editors in the capital city of La Paz will attend a 14-hour workshop instructed by Walker on Investigative Journalism in the Digital Age. The workshop, organized by the Fundacion para el Periodismo, is being offered to journalists studying for a Master of Journalism degree.


 

Bridging Science and Societies

October 25-30, 2017
San Francisco, California
Bridging Science and Societies

InquireFirst and Mexico City-based Fundacion Ealy Ortiz will bring together 50 science journalists for a October 25 professional development workshop to present practical, hands-on training sessions to sharpen reporting skills on the most pressing science, health and environmental issues in the Western Hemisphere.

The 2017 Latin American Edition of the Jack F. Ealy Science Journalism Workshop workshop is designed to promote excellence in science, health and environmental coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean and to underscore the need for deeply reported science coverage by local and regional media organizations.

This year’s workshop is being organized as part of the World Conference of Science Journalists 2017 (WCSJ) in San Francisco, California. Journalists attending the workshop will also participate in the WCSJ, which will host 1,200 reporters and editors from 70 countries.


 

Investigative Reporting & Access to Information

Shutterstock

September 25-29, 2017
Asunción, Paraguay
Investigative Reporting & Access to Information

Journalists in Asuncion, Caacupe and Itaugua, Paraguay, will attend a three-day workshop instructed by InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker on investigative reporting and techniques for accessing information for in-depth reporting.
Paraguay is readying for party primaries in December and a presidential election in April 2018. Walker will meet with journalists at Asuncion’s leading news organizations about access to information and government accountability. She will also meet with government officials and employees to discuss stategies for responsible disclosure of federal and local government activities.


 

Advanced Investigative Journalism

Photo by Luis J. Jiménez/InquireFirst

September 1, 2017
Virtual session from San Diego, CA
Advanced Investigative Journalism 

This virtual session focuses on every aspect of investigative journalism — from idea to planning to reporting and writing and finally to follow-up stories.  More than 100 journalists will be attending the session from Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Durango, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas, as well as the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas.