Mexico: Community Journalism in the Gulf of California

In the Gulf of California, a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, there is a great example about how citizen journalism is able to create environmental consciousness in a community and become a model of reporting.

Photo of the Gulf of California by lecates and used under a Creative Commons license.

SuMar “Voces por la naturaleza” (Your Ocean: Voices for Nature) is a local association that focuses on Gulf of California’s conservation, motivating their own community by giving tools to people in order to become leaders and take action. Citizen journalism is one important subject, as they have hosted different conferences on writing with an environmental and social focus. This is what they mention on their own website:

El periodismo comunitario, el arte como medio didáctico y las nuevas tecnologías de la comunicación son algunas de las tácticas utilizadas por SuMar. Porque una sociedad crítica y propositiva es una sociedad con poder, nuestras campañas de comunicación están orientadas a informar a la ciudadanía e invitándolos a participar en temas de interés común y con gran respaldo técnico y científico.

Community journalism, art as a didactic media and new communication technologies are some tools used by SuMar. Because a critical and positive society with power, our communication campaigns are oriented to inform society, inviting them to participate about subjects with a common interest for everybody, and with a scientific and technical support.

About 100 teachers and students have been able to become a part of the citizen journalism project. By discussing these environmental issues, they were trained how to use citizen media and being trained o act and react to it. There have also been several conferences about citizen journalism related to climate change, fishing, ecotourism, etc.

The participants not only focus on writing, but they have also created podcasts, photo galleries and different videos about what is happening in their own region.

All the podcast episodes begin with this introduction:

Sobrevivir en el Golfo de California: Promesas incumplidas de la modernidad, crisis ambiental y postales cercanas del progreso como ideologia. Una serie de reportajes producidos por el staff de política y rock'n'roll.

Surviving in the Gulf of California: Broken promises, environmental crisis, and postcards that bring progress closer, as an ideology. A series of articles produced by the politics and rock'n'roll staff.

Some of the subjects they cover are local issues, such as Puerto Peñasco‘s history (from the presence of the indigenous communities until the construction of touristic infrastructure, and fragments from politicians’ speeches), education in the main area, and migration within the region. However, one of the most important aspects of these podcasts, is the freedom of the express themselves, as with its informative perspective that gives a voice to the residents of the Gulf of California region in order to complain and talk about the issues that are affecting their own region.

This is a fragment of Podcast #8:

Con sus impresionantes campos de golf, su turismo de sol y playa, con los infaltables e innumerables casos de despojos ejidatarios, pescadores y pequeños propietarios; por parte de los potentados políticos en turno, el denominado Cancún Foxista, Peñasco o Rocky Point para los turistas americanos, es uno de los claros ejemplos de la corrupción desarrollista del Estado Mexicano.

With its impressive golf courses, sun and beach tourism, with the obligatory and countless number of cooperatives, fishermen and small businesses; by different politicians in office, the denominated Cancun Foxista, Peñasco or as it is known by American tourists: Rocky Point, it is a very clear example of development corruption inside Mexico.

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