Independent study journal: Just the Facts

While combining my International Journalism blog and my independent study journal is an exercise in space consolidation, it is also a struggle with writer’s block. My experience with blogging extends only as far as the LiveJournal whining from my teenage years and the occasional WordPress updates during my semester in Mexico. With each, I developed a sort of relationship that depended heavily on the purpose of my writing. After all, wouldn’t one treat a personal diary differently than a sheet of stationary? My LiveJournal entries could be locked (and therefore emotional), while my WordPress entries tried to maintain some sort of balance between professionalism and familiarity.

With this blog, two slightly conflicting relationships are developing. For the international journalism responses, I approach this space after having already listened to and participated in the classroom discussion. I’ve had time to formulate my thoughts and produce something (hopefully) decently-written. For my independent study journal, I’m still at a stage of collecting piecemeal facts and jotting them down as I see fit. Clearly, my independent study will need to evolve into a well-thought discussion of the facts. At this point in time, what I really need is a notebook of key phrases, resources, and so on. That is how my brain works.

So, it seems, I will have a slightly schizophrenic relationship with this blog for now. As I wrote earlier, it all interrelates; eventually the discussions of the journalism course and the independent project will overlap. For now, please have patiencewith the divided approach.

And now, without further ado, some notes:

This whole relationship-with-the-writing-space concept may prove significant later.

As for news coverage of the protests in Oaxaca

  • I have not been able to find anything in the Digg archives. Rather disappointing, but I may be using the wrong search terms.
  • The first mention I’ve seen in the New York Times is the late edition from June 15, 2006. On page A3, the caption of a photograph reads: “Teachers who are on strike for a wage increase in Oaxaca, Mexico, clashed with the police yesterday, as the teachers entered the 23rd day of occupying the town’s main square. The teachers’ union said at least three people had died in the clashes, but the government denied this.”
  • The next New York Times mention occurred as a 930-word article on June 22, 2006, discussing how the continued protests related to the Mexican presidential elections on July 2 (“Teacher Strike May Influence Mexican Vote”). The article does not include any direct references to police violence. Instead, it refers to the state police being sent to “dislodge” the protesters, as the government “resort[s] to the old ruling party’s tactics.”
  • The first explicit reference of violence toward protesters that I’ve seen in the NY Times archives so far occurs on Oct. 28, 2006, when Bradley Roland Will is killed: “The American journalist, Bradley Roland Will, 36, was working with a left-wing Web site called NYC Indymedia and had been in Mexico for several weeks. He was shot while trying to film some men in plainclothes who opened fire on protesters at a roadblock on the outskirts of the city.

Why might this level of coverage and choice of language matter? It is a question also asked by Colin Brayton on August 23, 2006 in Oaxaca Blog Wars. At that time–and to this day–the Internet provided mixed reports on the nature of the violence in Oaxaca. Principles of objectivity seem to be preventing the NYTimes from making an explicit statement either way. It refers only to “spreading violence” (“Political Unrest Cripples a Mexican Resort Area,” 3 Sept. 2006) and “escalating violence” (Violent Civil Unrest Tightens Hold,” 24 Aug. 2006).

    “The teachers’ union has been joined by scores of social organizations, some of them with leftist policies. [break] They have shut down highways, taken over five radio stations, burned more than a dozen buses, blocked off the city’s historic square, seized government offices, destroyed the stage for an annual cultural fair and barricaded tourists in their hotels.” (24 Aug. 2006)

    “Protesters have occupied and closed various governmental offices, blocked off the city’s famous plaza, taken over radio stations and trapped tourists inside their hotels. At least two people have been killed in the spreading violence.” (3 Sept. 2006)

    What implications do these excerpts have? Who is the violence being assigned to? Why is there no mention of the brutal beatings by police reported elsewhere?


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