In 2009, New York journalist Judith Torrea left the city that never sleeps for what she calls the “city of hit men”—arriving in Juárez, Mexico, “with no agenda except my love for a city that is being blown off the face of the earth.” Aiming to stand up for the victims of a war between government forces and drug cartels, Torrea, who was born in Spain, started a blog, Ciudad Juárez, en la Sombra del Narcotráfico (“City of Juárez, in the Shadow of Drug Trafficking”)—and last year won Spain’s equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize for digital journalism.
Torrea recently arrived at the scene of a massacre of seven youths to interview nearby residents. “No help from the Mexican government has been offered to pay victims’ medical bills,” she wrote. “Investigators haven’t asked witnesses what they saw.” Torrea does ask. But her questions often aren’t appreciated. “I’ve been pressured by the cartels and by government security forces,” she says. “I can’t change society. But as a journalist, I can tell stories that inspire people to reflect.”