Harvard Nieman Fellows recognize Mexican journalist for courageous coverage of organized crime

The Harvard University Nieman Fellows selected Mexican journalist Marcela Turati as the winner of the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, the organization announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Turati is a reporter for the magazine Proceso and, in 2007, founded the organization Periodistas de a Pie (Journalists on Foot) with the mission to protect and train journalists to improve the coverage of fighting organized crime in the country, according to Proceso. The 24 current Nieman Fellows selected Turati for her courage in covering organized crime, reported the newspaper El País. Recently, Turati released the book Entre las Cenizas (From the Ashes), a collection "stories of resistance, solidarity and hope" during the drug war in Mexico.

"Reporters like Turati have seen many colleagues disappear or be brutally murdered or forced to flee the country. And yet they continue to believe they can make a difference. They continue to bear witness,” the fellows said in their nomination. The prize will be awarded on Feb. 7 at Harvard University.

On the Periodistas de a Pie blog Turati reflected on how her organization's mission began trying improving the coverage of poverty in Mexico and became a support network for journalists facing threats from organized crime and pushed for more human coverage of violence. "Just do it, conquer fear and speak in public. I don't even ask questions at conferences becuase I'm so timid, I dream of being invisible, but I was driven to show myself. Now I speak in public eventhough my voice cracks. I said what I had to say eventhough you have this maddening sensation of a voice in the desert," she wrote.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.