Investigative journalism in Mexico: between ideals and realities. The case of Morelia

Ruben Arnoldo Gonzalez


The aim of this paper is to analyze the state of the investigative journalism in Mexico, especially the one practiced at the local level in the provinces. That is, rather than considering the so-called national press – located in Mexico City - which might not offer an accurate picture of the country as a whole, this study is based upon a case study conducted in Morelia, the capital city of the state of Michoacán. The empirical evidence will show that there is an evident divergence regarding the practice of the investigative journalism: on the one hand, journalists are aware of what this concept involves and they consider that they practice it on a regular basis; but, on the other, the content analysis prove otherwise. In other words, the account of what is actually printed significantly differs from the news workers’ perceptions, because the former shows a poorly developed journalistic investigation practice. Furthermore, this is also the opinion of their sources, who argue that local press lacks of investigative stories and shows an evident “press release dependence”. As a result of this situation, this paper argues that journalism in Morelia is instrumentalized by the political power, which is also a reflection of the Mexican media system. In sum, the Morelia case will demonstrate that the investigative journalism in the provinces of Mexico oscillates between ideals and realities. As a result, reporters show low levels of professionalization. 


Investigative journalism; Mexican media; instrumentalization; local press; professionalization

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Journal of Latin American Communication Research - 2014