Cd. Juarez, Mexico — It was business more or less business as usual today in the El Paso offices of the newspaper El Diario. But in the newsroom, everybody's talking about the attack against the Juarez bureau early this morning. Somebody drove by and fired at least seven shots, some of them penetrating windows at the front of the building. Surveillance cameras caught a grey van speeding away. Just a while later, Channel 44 TV came under attack.
A Juarez El Diario editor, Pedro Torres responded. "I want this investigated. I want it clarified and not to go away like some other incidents that have occurred. And of course I want punishment for whoever did this."
In El Paso, reporter Juliana Henau is keeping in touch with her colleagues on the other side of the river. "They are very concerned and very scared, especially the ones who cover crime and police investigations, they feel very vulnerable at this point."
Juarez journalists have reason to be concerned. Since the start of the drug war, El Diaro has buried two of its own. Veteran reporter Armando Rodriguez, murdered while on assignment. And photography intern Luis Carlos-Santiago, gunned down in a parking lot.
El Paso editor and spokesperson Gerald Smola says, "Threats have been received all over. In the capital of Chihuaha City there is another paper, and phone calls and threatening messages are almost every day for reporters and journalists."
The El Paso paper is taking some employee precautions. Nobody leaves work through the front door, and in the paper itself there are no bylines on sensitive stories. The writers remain anonymous. But El Diario is pressing ahead.
Smola pledges, "Diario is still committed to continuing to tell the truth, and to continue to publish the paper regardless of this incident."