The Documentalist

Librarian at New Mexico State Archives Media on Juarez Killings

Posted in News by Sarah on June 16, 2010

As reported in the Wall Street Journal article “A Gruesome Reckoning: Librarian Sifts Mexican Press to Tally Drug-Cartel-Related Killings in Juárez,” Latin American Librarian Molly Molloy works through daily media reports to try to keep a tally of the number of dead resulting from cartel violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.  Her efforts are a response to the fact that there is no official count of cartel-related homicides in Juárez, as the police are somehow unable it keep up with them.  In fact, many of the deaths are not attributed to drug-related violence until evidence comes out in the media.  Thus Ms. Molloy sifts through print and online news paper reports on Juárez to create her tally–a tally that US authorities, scholars, and human rights activists have come to depend upon as a reliable source of data on the problems in that city.    According the the article, Ms. Molloy processes news reports daily and sends out an email digest summarizing events and presenting updated counts.  She also keeps an on-line archive of the newspaper media she processes in her effort .  Parties interested in receiving her digests can subscribe to her email list, which can be found at New Mexico State University’s Internet Resources for Latin America.  As stated in the article:

More than 300 people subscribe to Ms. Molloy’s daily news and analysis emails, including congressional staff, U.S. and Mexican human-rights watchdogs, local and international reporters, and border observers from as far away as Norway.

U.S. reporters covering crime elsewhere in Mexico bemoan the lack of tools like Ms. Molloy’s emails.

“It’s really frustrating not knowing what is going on,” said Jared Taylor, a crime reporter at the Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas, just across the border from Reynosa, Mexico. Local crime reports are getting thin in Reynosa as journalists themselves become drug-cartel targets, as they have in other cities in northeastern Mexico.

Ms. Molloy consults a stream of articles online from her home in New Mexico, as well as copies of newspapers she purchases during trips to Juárez, where reporters are still covering drug-related crime. She copies relevant articles into an online archive, which she uses to compose her email reports.

Read the full article here for more detail.

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