Methodology

To encompass Mexico’s drug war as a series of events expressed and altered through media attention, I have employed a number of different research methods to guide the scope of this website.

Research methods

  • Blog–the blog feature serves as a source of new information in the happenings of drug cartels and the war.  The blog summarizes relevant news regarding public policy in relation to drug trafficking, journalists’ collective and individual experiences, how the war affects the people in Mexico and the U.S., and information that discloses how drug cartels operate.  In addition, the blog assists in my analysis of journalists’ biases by allowing a space for critiquing others’ works and linking to those works.  Lastly, the blog is a means for developing my own views on issues pertaining to drug cartels and the war, and receiving feedback on those views from readers.
  • Interviews–interviews allow for a deeper understanding of certain issues.  Through conducting interviews for this website, I have garnered distinctive information from a primary source that months of research could not provide.
  • Textual analysis–it is not only news media that contributes to the discourse of drug cartels and the drug war, entertainment media also plays a major role in directing and broadening the discussion.  Through a textual analysis of a popular TV show depicting elements of drug cartels, I was able to break new ground and research issues that I would not have previously attributed to my subject.

Theory

As journalism is a domain that seeks to uncover neglected information and address issues within society, it tends to have a compelling ability to sway public policy.  In Mexico, where journalists are under constant threat of death by drug cartels for what they report, an imperative question here is: how does this change their ability to report?  Furthermore, if journalists’ ability to report effectively is impeded by threats, how are their current reports lacking?  And, if their reports are lacking in paramount information, how is this vacuum affecting the implementation of meaningful public policy?

To further complicate matters, how do reports in the U.S. differ from reports in Mexico on the same issues?  This complicates the discussion because each country has their own unique interests, interests that do not always coalesce, and issues that are presented differently according to where you read them.  However through the lens of drug trafficking, it is clear how profoundly enmeshed both these countries are.  This implication, is perhaps, the simplest part of the whole: Mexico represents the supply of drugs, the U.S. represents the demand for drugs.  A demand which is foolish to believe will ever subside.  Thus the drug issue cannot be solved through selective public policy: both countries must find solutions that will work for each countries’ respective interests. Such a collaboration requires meaningful discussion.  It is a much neglected discussion that journalists in both countries must have with each other.  Potential outcomes eager.

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