The Nieman Fellows at Harvard have selected Marcela Turati of the Mexican news magazine Proceso as recipient of the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. Turati was chosen for her coverage of the drug war and her role in protecting and training members of the media. She is a standard-bearer for the journalists who have risked their lives to document the devastating wave of violence in Mexico.
In their nomination, the Nieman Fellows cited Turati’s “journalistic excellence and leadership” and the courage shown by her and other Mexicans covering organized crime.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with more than four dozen killed or gone missing in the past six years.
Turati has long sought to give voice to those who lack political power and access to the media. In 2007, she and her colleagues co-founded Periodistas de a Pie, a journalism network created to support reporters covering issues such as poverty, civic participation and human rights.
As the war against the narcotraffickers intensified, the organization refocused to support journalists covering the conflict and to defend freedom of speech. The network began to train journalists in ethics, personal safety, cybernetics and how to care for their own emotional well-being — and it encouraged more journalists to organize networks to protect themselves and create strategies to avoid censorship. It also helped connect researchers and international human rights organizations with people on the ground affected by violence.