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Dallas Morning News reporter visits Columbia College

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Alfredo Corchado, reporter and author, described the day in 2007 when his life changed forever.

In July that year, a source called the Dallas Morning News reporter, who works in Mexico City, to say that the drug cartels had a list of several journalists they planned to assassinate. Corchado, the source said, should get out of Mexico.

“At that moment, the room started spinning, I almost dropped my phone,” Corchado told an audience of about 40 at Columbia College Chicago recently. “I felt sick.”

Corchado, much to the dismay of his family, did not leave but stayed to report the story and find out who was making the threats. “As journalists, the truth is our best weapon,” Corchado said.

The author of “Midnight in Mexico,” which is part memoir and part reporting on Mexico, was in Chicago to promote his book and discuss covering violence and being a journalists from two worlds — America and Mexico.

Corchado told the audience that he was born in Mexico but grew up in Texas the eldest of nine children. And in the book, Midnight in Mexico, published in May 2013, Corchado’s talks about his experiences as a reporter and his struggle to identify with his Mexican heritage versus beginning apart of American culture. He also told the audience that he outlines the stories he covered, such as: immigration, drug violence, foreign exchange as well as the missing women from Juarez and the drug cartels.

Corchado was introduced and later interviewed by his friend Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, of Columbia College Chicago’s journalism department.

The evening was sponsored by Community Media Workshop, the Columbia College Chicago Journalism Department, the Chicago Headline Club and the National Hispanic Journalist’s Columbia College chapter.

Susy Schultz wrote this article. Bianca Martinez and Ariel Parrella-Aureli, members of the National Hispanic Journalists club and journalism students at Columbia College Chicago, contributed reporting.