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Executive Director Lynne Walker leads investigative journalism workshops in Honduras and Guatemala

InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker talks about the importance of press freedom during an interview at La Prensa, the leading daily newspaper in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Photo by Yoseph Amaya/La Prensa

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – InquireFirst Executive Director Lynne Walker traveled to San Pedro Sula in June 2017 to meet with investigative journalists who cover crime, corruption and gang warfare in the most dangerous city in Honduras.

San Pedro Sula is an industrial center, a business hub on the northern coast with more daily flights than the capital of Tegucigalpa.  But it is also a center of gang activity, making it the most violent city in the most dangerous country in Latin America.

Against that backdrop, more than 60 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker, a career journalist who for 15 years reported on Mexico, Central America and Cuba as Mexico City bureau chief for Copley News Service. The workshops were held at the Colegio de Periodistas and organized by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Walker directed interactive workshops designed to help journalists think creatively as they search for credible sources for investigative stories.  All too often, stories are blocked by official sources who refuse to provide information.  In that reporting environment, Walker led journalists through a series of reporting scenarios in which they used their experience, their wits and their intuition to find untapped sources who can provide reliable information for in-depth news stories.

Walker challenged journalists to think outside the box, to push themselves to conduct in-depth reporting while maintaining a clear sense of journalistic ethics. And she underscored the need for investigative journalists to always be mindful of their personal safety.

In the colonial city of Comayagua, some 80 journalists attended two-day investigative journalism workshops led by Walker. Many of the journalists traveled from the distant regions of Marcala, La Paz, Tela and Progreso to attend the professional development programs.

Walker also traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to lead an investigative journalism workshop for print, radio and television reporters.  During the day-long session at the Rafael Landivar University, Walker talked with journalists about the importance of their work in reducing corruption and strengthening democracy. She discussed an international code of ethics adopted by major news organizations around the world.  And she reviewed protocols for journalist safety, urging journalists to be ever mindful that no news story is worth their life.

In Guatemala City, Walker worked with 40 journalists and students on investigative techniques.  Several of the journalists in Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango had previously attended journalism workshops organized by Walker in San Diego, California.