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'In The Mouth Of The Wolf' Author Talks The Significance Of Journalists Being Silenced

"The journalist is not the ultimate target ... the real target of this kind of rhetoric is the citizen," Katherine Corcoran said while discussing her new nonfiction read about the murder of a reporter in Mexico.

By Becca van Sambeck

Oxygen Book Club highlights books in the crime sphere each month and features exclusive interviews, guided discussions, and more.

Throughout "In the Mouth of the Wolf: A Murder, a Cover-Up, and the True Cost of Silencing the Press," former AP Mexico bureau chief Katherine Corcoran investigates an important question: What really happened to Mexican journalist Regina Martínez? Known for exposing corruption in the country's politics, she was beaten to death in her home in 2012. In Oxygen Book Club's November 2022 pick, Corcoran reveals what she learned about Martínez's murder after she traveled to Mexico, bonded with her friends, and investigated the crime.

Corcoran recently spoke with Oxygen digital correspondent Stephanie Gomulka about why she wanted to write the book, the importance of the press, and more.

"I wanted to show the bravery of the journalists in Mexico who continue doing this kind of work and the bravery of those who spoke to me because it was very dangerous for them to speak to me. And so those are the real heroes of the book," Corcoran told Gomulka.

Corcoran also explained more about who Martínez is and why she was such an influential figure in Mexican news.

"Regina Martínez was a reporter ahead of her time in Mexico. At the time she started her career in the mid-to-late 1980s, the press in Mexico was still very much controlled by the government ... she came on the scene as a reporter who didn't report the official news. She went out to ask questions, talk to people on the ground, she traveled to remote parts of the state ... it was very unusual at the time and it created stories that were very uncomfortable to the powers that be from the very beginning of her career," she said.

After working in Mexico and observing similar murder cases, she was moved to write a book about what happened to Martínez.

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"The reason I wanted to focus on her is because when I went to Mexico and became the bureau chief for Central America and Mexico for the Associated Press, it was the start of what I call an epidemic of journalist killings. And there were six, seven a year which I thought was outrageous at the time. There was so little information and transparency about these cases. Why was this happening?" she explained. " ... And when Regina was killed, that was the point where we knew this was an effort to silence independent journalism, independent reporting, because everyone knew what kind of reporter she was. She couldn't be bought. She was honest, she was tenacious."

"In The Mouth Of A Wolf" isn't just about Martinéz's murder. It also examines the greater consequences for the general public when independent journalism is silenced.

"The other point I wanted to make about journalists is now journalists are becoming targets of attacks in a way that never happened before. I've been a journalist for decades, and it's unprecedented," she explained. " ... The point that I really wanted to show with this book, as I show in the story in Mexico, is that the journalist is not the ultimate target. The journalist is the first line of attack, and we're an easy target because nobody likes us. We're the bearers of bad news by definition, but the real target of this kind of rhetoric is the citizen. It's to control what you know, and how you can make decisions so that you will follow an agenda and not have any information to the contrary, to be able to weigh against whatever this politician or whoever is trying to control you is saying."

To learn more about the book and Corcoran's experiences in the newsroom, watch the video above.

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