• Access Granted: Staff writer Sara Miller Llana heard that the Chihuahua City police department is one of Mexico's best while reporting a different story – on police corruption in general in the country (see "Setbacks in Mexico's war on corruption").
"I'm always looking for stories that teach lessons or shine a light on something important but less noticed. When I heard about how this police department shared its closed-circuit TV monitors with state human rights workers, my radar pinged," says Sara.
But, Chihuahua city is a plane ride away from Mexico City, her home base. And getting interviews with state and local officials in Mexico is not always the easiest thing to do, especially from afar. "I made some calls and found a woman who is doing research for Insyde (a police reform organization in Mexico City) on the Chihuahua municipal police. She had contacts both with the state and the municipal police, and within two hours of contacting her by e-mail, I had my entire trip set up. Often, getting access is 75 percent of the job! If only there were a single person as passionate about her job for every story," says Sara.
– David Clark Scott
• 2008 Safer for Reporters: Fewer reporters were killed, beaten, or kidnapped in the line of duty this year, according to a survey by Reporters Without Borders. In 2008, 60 journalists and one media assistant were killed. Last year, 86 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed.
After Iraq (with 15 journalists killed), the two countries with the highest 2008 death tolls are Pakistan (7) and the Philippines (6). In Mexico, four journalists were murdered in connection with their work.
Censorship of the media and repression of bloggers rose, with 1 killed (in China), 59 arrested, and 49 attacked.
Reporters Without Borders, a nonprofit media rights group headquartered in France, says it only counts cases in which a link between the violation and the victim's work as a journalist was clearly established or very likely.