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Reporting dangerously in Mexico: Capital, risks and strategies among journalists

Brambila Ramirez, Julieta Alejandra (2018) Reporting dangerously in Mexico: Capital, risks and strategies among journalists. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Over the last decades violence against journalists has increased dramatically worldwide. Within this trend, Mexico stands out as being the most dangerous country for journalists in the Western hemisphere. This thesis investigates how local journalists in Mexico address work-related risks and keep reporting amidst threatening and dangerous conditions. Based on the theoretical framework of the sociology of journalism and employing key concepts and hypotheses of field theory, the main argument of this thesis is that journalists’ individual dispositions regarding forms and quantity of capital (material and symbolic resources) both constrain (e.g. increase risk exposure) and enable (e.g. through strategies for enhancing professional autonomy) journalistic practice in violent settings. The research pursues a subnational comparative research strategy to analyse the dilemmas and strategies of journalists at the local and regional levels where most of the violence and harassments against journalists take place. Based on a set of 65 interviews with journalists (49) and key informants (16) from the ten most violent states in the country, this study suggests that exposure to risk among local journalists working on sensitive topics (such as crime, drugs and corruption) is unevenly distributed in the field and, more importantly, journalists who possess lower levels of capital (cultural, economic, social and symbolic) are at greater risk of danger and violence than journalists who possess higher levels of capital. Conversely, high levels of capital enable journalists to acquire the resources needed for fostering strategies aimed at enhancing their safety and professional autonomy in a working environment featuring violence and risk. However, the data gathered suggests that the role of capital and the repertoire of strategic behaviours have some professional, organisational and social limitations. Overall, this thesis offers a more comprehensive and theory-driven explanation of the cultural, economic, social and symbolic forces influencing journalistic practice in violent settings than has been offered by most of the current scholarship on this topic.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: press freedom, media at risk, violence against journalists, professional autonomy
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss J A Brambila Ramirez
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 11:46
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 11:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22084

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