Reframing Investigative Journalism in Mexico: Towards a Transformative Practice

Huerta Zapién, Rubén Irving. 2021. Reframing Investigative Journalism in Mexico: Towards a Transformative Practice. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Reframing Investigative Journalism in Mexico: Towards a Transformative Practice)
POL_thesis_HuertaZapiénR_2021.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This thesis is about the dangers of following the path of a model for investigative journalism in Mexico based on the 20th Century North American corporate model of the press, anchored in neoliberal ideology in the middle of raising violence. Its entrepreneurial character and market orientation have endangered journalists’ labour rights and the right to freedom of information for all.

It is situated in my own experience as a practicing investigative journalist who is deeply dissatisfied with the existing circumstances of journalism in Mexico, but who recognises the necessity of finding a means to reveal human suffering and corruption. The thesis examines the following questions: How is investigative journalism in Mexico constrained by the national media system and multiple political forces? How can we escape neoliberal practices that endanger the purpose of investigative journalism in the public interest? Where and how should investigations be deployed if they are to be truly investigative and truly transformative?

These questions are tackled using a conjunctural analysis that situates the analysis historically and politically in the context of Mexico. The state of investigative journalism is considered as part of this conjuncture and the multiple influences on investigative journalistic practice are discussed. The empirical study is based on two case studies and 41 semi-structured interviews with 39 individuals. The two case studies are: a) a singular group of journalists doing independent investigations in radical collaboration, called Periodistas de a Pie; b) an investigative tool called Plataforma Ayotzinapa, created by the research agency Forensic Architecture.

The thesis advances the use of “a framework for transformative investigations” as a possible way out of the impasse investigative journalism in Mexico finds itself in. This framework has three dimensions: 1) A turn to political action; 2) A communitarian solidarity; and 3) A humanitarian truth production.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


investigative journalism, Mexico, counter-investigations, journalism, watchdog

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 January 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2021 08:56

Last Modified:

13 Sep 2022 10:17


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)