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Preparing for the battlefield

One June 3 and 4, journalists from across Texas and northern Mexico came together to practice security protocols while reporting on both sides of the border.

The Security for Border Journalists Binational Workshop, which was held at the South Texas College campus in McAllen, offered a series of trainings on how to deal with extreme situations, including cyber security and physical protection.

“These type of workshops are of very high importance due to the fact that there’s a good number of journalists that travel to Mexico to work on our job duties on different topics,” Victor Castillo said in Spanish.

Guest speakers included Angela Kerwin, consul general at the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and several journalists from Mexico and the United States, said Castillo, one of the organizers of the event and who has worked for a several news stations in the Rio Grande Valley.

Kerwin spoke about how violence affects both sides of the border and talked about her duties as the consul general, which include facilitating the communication between Brownsville and Matamoros government officials.

“These workshops are of great importance due to the need of creating a network between journalists and reporters to work in collaboration while conducting investigations,” Castillo said.

One workshop trained journalists on what to do in the event of a shooting. Bernardo Gómez, who is a security consultant and directs the Brigadas Regionales de Seguridad, a nonprofit organization that assist law enforcement agencies, demonstrated how to physically react and take photos during a shooting.

Gómez said journalists should always stand behind law enforcement officials and follow their instructions at all times.

The event also gave an inside look at what journalists from both sides of the border face when reporting.

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