Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, known for his reporting on drug trafficking and organized crime, was shot and killed on Monday in the northwest state of Sinaloa. Authorities reported he was on a busy street in broad daylight when unidentified attackers opened fired on his car. The state prosecutor later told reporters that a dozen bullets were found at the crime scene. At the time he was killed, Valdez was wearing his signature straw hat.
In addition to working as a correspondent for La Jornada, a daily newspaper in Mexico City, Valdez was the co-founder of Riodoce, a regional weekly newspaper that began in 2003 out of the need for more honest coverage in Sinaloa. At the time the newspaper was born, the state government controlled most of the media. Despite government opposition to their project, Valdez and his colleagues were determined to survive in an effort to accurately inform the public. According to the Los Angeles Times, Valdez was “an essential source” for journalists looking to cover drug violence in Sinaloa.
As a reporter of violence and organized crime, Valdez was keenly aware of the dangers of his job. “Being a journalist is like being on a blacklist,” he said at his book launch last year. “Even though you may have bulletproofing and bodyguards, [the gangs] will decide what day they are going to kill you.” Valdez is now the sixth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year, and one of more than 100 journalists who have been murdered in the country since 2000.