By Alejandro Martínez
Mexican reporter Marcela Turati received on Thursday Feb. 7 the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, awarded each year by the Nieman Fellows at Harvard University.
The 24 current Nieman Fellows selected Turati, a reporter for news weekly Proceso, for her courage in covering organized crime and her role in training and protecting journalists in Mexico. “She is a standard-bearer for the journalists who have risked their lives to document the devastating wave of violence in Mexico,” the Nieman Foundation said.
In their nomination, the fellows said, “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.
Turati is a reporter for the magazine Proceso and, in 2007, founded the organization Periodistas de a Pie (Journalists on Foot) with the mission of improving the coverage of poverty, civic participation and human rights in the country. Turati told the Nieman Foundation that her greatest challenge has been “how to write about violence without letting people get used to it, how to maintain permanent indignation and hope with each news story.”
However, as conditions for the press worsened in Mexico due to drug violence, the organization refocused to protecting and training journalists. Periodistas de a Pie encouraged journalists to create networks to protect themselves and create strategies to avoid censorship. Recently, the organization released the book Entre las Cenizas (Amid the Ashes), a collection of "stories of resistance, solidarity and hope" during the drug war in Mexico.
“For Marcela […], this is personal,” Dallas Morning News Mexico correspondent Alfredo Corchado wrote in a profile of Turati. “She and her profession have become protagonists in a sad drama. The disappeared include reporters, some of them people she knew, bylines and faces she’d grown accustomed to, all suddenly gone.”
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.