Regina Martínez was no stranger to retaliation. As a journalist out of Mexico’s Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, Regina’s stories for the magazine Proceso laid out the corruption and abuse underlying Mexican politics. She was barred from press conferences, and copies of Proceso often disappeared before they made the newsstands. In 2012, shortly after Proceso published an article on two corrupt Veracruz politicians, the magazine went missing once again. She was later found bludgeoned to death in her bathroom. The message was clear: No journalist in Mexico was safe.
Katherine Corcoran admired Regina Martínez’s fearless reporting. At the time of the murder, Corcoran was leading the Associated Press coverage in Mexico. Corcoran journeyed to Veracruz to find out what had happened. Regina hadn’t even written the controversial article. Did she have something else that someone didn’t want published? Once there, Corcoran bonded with four of Regina’s grief-stricken colleagues, each desperate to prove who was to blame for the death of their friend. Together they battled cover-ups, narco-officials, red tape, and threats to sift through the mess of lies and discover what got Regina killed. This is their story, and all it says about Mexico and the state of the independent press.
Katherine Corcoran is the author of In the Mouth of the Wolf… A former Associated Press bureau chief for Mexico and Central America, she has been an Alicia Patterson fellow, the Hewlett Fellow for Public Policy at the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame, and a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow. At the AP, she led an award-winning team that broke major stories about abuse of authority in Mexico and Central America. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and Time, among other publications. She is co-coordinator of MasterLAB, an investigative editor training program in Mexico City, and former co-director of Cronkite Noticias, the bilingual reporting program at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.