On the Road: Salvadoran journalists expound on year-long project covering Central American migrants' journeys through Mexico

During a presentation Friday, Sept. 17, to more than 40 public policy, Latin American studies, government and sociology students at the University of Texas at Austin, Salvadoran journalists Oscar Martinez and Carlos Dada of ElFaro.net explained how the multi-media news website put together a project looking at the dangerous path of undocumented Central American migrants through Mexico.

Martinez and a team from El Faro spent a year on the road, walking the migrant path, visiting migrant shelters and interviewing some of the half-million Central Americans who have made the 28-day journey through Mexico on their way to the United States.

"We wanted to see the migration phenomenon through the eyes of the security crisis in Mexico," explained Dada, who along with Martinez were in Austin for the 8th Austin Forum for Journalism in the Americas. "The result was extraordinary. We found one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world."

For example, he said, 80 percent of women migrants are sexually assaulted by the time they reach Oaxaca, Mexico, and 500 migrants are kidnapped in a week.

El Faro has produced a book, The Migrants that Don't Matter, with the stories of the migrants Martinez met on his journey. Additionally, El Faro has published a book of photos, On the Road, and a documentary video.

El Faro, founded in 1998 by Dada, is Latin America's first completely web-based, digital newspaper.

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.