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Is Mexico's drug violence scaring off the next generation of journalists?

Drug violence has made Mexico a dangerous place to be a reporter, and it is affecting journalism schools that now struggle to keep their doors open and train aspiring journalists.

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Grenades have exploded in newspaper offices. Reporters have been kidnapped and murdered, sometimes dismembered and stuffed into garbage bags. Several journalists have fled Mexico for their safety.

It’s not exactly a selling atmosphere for Mexican journalists, especially those in school who could opt to study business or technology instead of a craft that has become one of the most dangerous in the world when practiced in Mexico.

Journalism in Mexico was once under threat by the political dynasty that controlled the country during the 20th century, and the job has scant prestige or pay, but today it is bloodthirsty drug traffickers and corrupt officials that are the menace. And now journalism schools are battling to keep the “fourth estate” alive, while students reconsider the fashion or sports beat in lieu of hard news, and others forgo the journalism profession altogether.

Some schools have even closed down their programs because not enough students are enrolling.

“To recuperate a sense of journalism of quality and ethics is harder and harder each day,” says Maricarmen Fernández Chapou, who teaches journalism at the Tecnologico de Monterrey Mexico City campus and directed the program until last year.

'The biggest battle'

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