Take Action around 'Reportero'
- Write a letter to your congressional representative to raise the issues of press freedom and the murders of journalists worldwide.
- Join Speak Justice: Voices Against Impunity, a digital campaign organized by the Committee to Protect Journalists, to demand justice and protection for journalists.
- View activist toolkits provided by the Drug Policy Alliance and learn how to take steps to build a movement to end the war on drugs.
- Explore ethics in journalism by role-playing a Zeta-based scenario: A reporter at your paper has been assassinated and the government isn't pursuing the case. What do you do? Possible roles include publisher (owner), editor-in-chief (who assigns stories to reporters), photographer, reporter, regular reader and anonymous government source.
- Compare the climate for independent media in Mexico with the treatment of journalists in other nations. Share what you learn about the factors that nurture free expression and those that endanger independent reporting.
- Invite journalists who have covered the drug war to speak about their experiences. Alternatively, invite journalists whose lives have been threatened to talk about why they are willing to risk their lives for reporting. To contact a journalist for speaking engagements, email the Journalist Assistance Program at the Committee to Protect Journalists: JournAsst@cpj.org.
Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.
Reportero follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Semanario Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 50 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when former President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels and organized crime.
As the drug war intensifies, the risks to journalists increase. So, too, does the need for independent reporting. The film powerfully explores the experience of reporters who attempt to meet that need, challenging viewers to acknowledge the risk and also the importance of credible reporting to the well-being of individual communities and democracy in general. The result is an extraordinary springboard for conversations about the potential impact of a free press silenced.
In this lesson, students will investigate the risks that journalists take to report on organized crime and corrupt government leaders. They will first discuss the role and value of a free press and some of the principles that define the work of reporters. Student groups will then role-play the work of a newspaper editorial board that must decide whether or not to publish a controversial story that could put the paper and its staff at risk.
This resource list, compiled by Gina Blume of Monroe Township Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the POV documentary 'Reportero.'