Journalism in times of violence: Social media use by US and Mexican journalists working in northern Mexico

Celeste González de Bustamante, Jeannine E. Relly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mexico ranks as one of the most violent countries in the world for journalists, and especially for those who work on the country’s periphery such as its northern border. Given the dire situation for Mexican reporters covering the northern part of the country, and the continued responsibility of US journalists to report on the area just south of the border, this qualitative study addresses the overarching research question that examines how Mexican and US journalists who cover northern Mexico are using social media, given the heightened levels of violence in the region. The authors utilize a modified version of the conceptual framework of scale-shifting to investigate how journalists in a specific transnational environment of conflict are using social media. The study is based on a qualitative analysis of 41 interviews gathered in fall 2011 in 18 cities with news media outlets along the United States–Mexico border. Findings describe the innovative ways that journalists are circumventing online security risks (what the authors call scale-shifting) and how social media are used to build cross-border relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-523
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014


  • Mexico
  • United States–Mexico border
  • collective action
  • journalists
  • organized crime
  • scale-shifting
  • social media
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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