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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The Documentalist Returns from Rwanda

Posted in Uncategorized by Sarah on June 10, 2010

Amahoro Silverback, Volcano National Park, Rwanda

As you know, I was away in Kigali Rwanda from May 22 through June 2, 2010.  The trip was a fantastic whirlwind–mind opening, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at once.  I look forward to processing all of experiences I had and interviews I conducted in coming months.  In the meantime, here is a brief taste of what I saw and did.

The majority of my work was made possible by Yves and Emery at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, an amazing organization dedicated  to preserving the memory of the 1994 genocide and uncovering the processes leading up to it in order to prevent another event like it in Rwanda or elsewhere.  I met Yves and Emery through my colleagues Christian and T-Kay at the University of Texas Libraries at Austin.  They had invited me to accompany them to Kigali to see the digital archive they are creating with KMC, as well as to work on my documentation interviews with a number of human rights and genocide NGOs in Kigali.  I could not have accomplished anything without the help of Christain, T-Kay, Yves, and Emery.  Christian and T-Kay provided the opportunity, Yves opened doors, and Emery served as my translator and cultural guide for my time in Kigali.

Soon I will write up a brief overview of the types of organizations I visited and some of the impressions I gained, but in the meantime I’ll say that one important highlight of my trip was visiting the mountain gorillas in Volcano National Park.  Visiting these wonderful creatures in their native home was the perfect antidote to the weighty issues related to genocide and human rights that seem to permeate life in Kigali.  The group we visited was called “Amahoro,” which means “Peace,” and consisted of 17 gorillas that we stayed within 15 feet of for over an hour.  It was an amazing experience!