Reporting in Latin America

By: Luisa Anderson

Over one year ago, I sat in my History of Latin America class, fascinated by figures like Rigoberta Menchu and her role in bringing victims of the Guatemalan Civil War to justice. One year later, and I have interviewed two University professors involved in a project to translate and digitalize Guatemalan Civil War documents into an archive.

Brigadier General José Efraín Ríos Montt (center) post-coup press conference on March 23, 1982 in Guatemala City. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Brigadier General José Efraín Ríos Montt (center) post-coup press conference on March 23, 1982 in Guatemala City. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Following stories like these are at the heart of why I enrolled in a journalism school in the first place. Media users today have virtually unlimited access to international stories like the Guatemalan Civil War. Increased access to social media sites and new technology  has widened my view of the world and my passion for international stories. I don’t feel confined to the streets of Eugene or the state lines of Oregon because I have access to people in other corners of the world. As a Spanish language student of the last 7 years, I am particularly interested in news coverage of Latin America and Spain. My goal is to report on issues in Spanish-speaking countries, and to be able to communicate these stories in either English or Spanish.

This term, I’ll be writing a blog following journalists who report stories in Latin America.

A Guatemalan military logbook of disappeared citizens obtained by the National Security Archive.  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Guatemalan military logbook of disappeared citizens obtained by the National Security Archive. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Many large scale newspapers have a foreign desk where journalists travel and report news in different regions of the world.  The New York Times’ Americas desk and the Los Angeles Times’ Americas desk are exceptional ways to read about news from countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba. News sources such as BBC Mundo and BBC Brazil are additional resources that cover Latin America and Spain in Spanish and Portuguese.  NPR also covers Latin America with supplemental audio pieces. There are also several notable Latin American newspapers to follow, such as Mexico’s El Universal and Argentina’s Página 12.

Aside from collected coverage from large news groups, many foreign correspondents use Twitter to post their stories and reflections.  For the last few weeks I’ve been following Simon Romero, the bureau chief in Brazil for the New York Times who covers Latin America’s Southern Cone.  Romero has more than a decade of experience reporting in Spanish-speaking countries.  You can read Romero’s archived work or follow his Twitter account.

Lastly,  international news can be some of the most dangerous stories for journalists to cover.  The Committee to Protect Journalists is a good resource to follow to learn about journalists in the news.

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