Mexico: “Collaboration and Respectful Communication”

May 15, 2017

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — When I first started working for Global Press in 2012, I was the lone reporter in Mexico City, my home. It was my first time working for a global company, and I struggled with not having a physical team around me.

But over the years, I have witnessed how GP’s values and core principles allow teams to grow, because GP prioritizes collaboration and respectful communication.

In 2015, a full news bureau was created in Mexico City, with the addition of four women. And after years of working as a reporter, I had the opportunity to become a leader, and I became the country coordinator. After the new reporters went through training, we began integrating our team with the veteran reporters in Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state and the site of Global Press’s first news desk. That year, the Mexico team was solidified.

In my role as coordinator, I have regular meetings with every reporter on the Mexico team. As a group, we discuss story ideas, at which time I provide reporting suggestions and help writers communicate with their editors. My favorite part of the week is when the entire team meets. This hour has turned into an important space for all of us, where we can talk about our ideas, but also share our concerns, questions and hopes.

I am constantly pleasantly surprised in these meetings, as the diversity of personalities in this team is multiplied by the visions shared, and that always enriches our conversations.

I have seen how GP’s principles and mission have made this team more united and determined, and have always served as our foundation and guiding light during any disagreement and misunderstanding.

In one instance, a colleague was concerned with her story about a transgender boy who did not want to be photographed, even if his face were hidden. The rest of the team gave her ideas on how to talk to him and to his mother to get a photo for the story. No one suggested she do something unethical to get the photo, or suggested something that implied, even at the lowest level, she should deceive the boy and not tell him the truth. On the contrary, the phrases and words they suggested were respectful, and they often used the word “truth.”

But it’s the differences in how we see the world that I most enjoy.

For example, our meetings often include a discussion of the most recently published Global Press Journal story. The most cheerful and curious reporters in the team highlight what they learned from the story or how it made them feel. The more analytical reporters (myself included) tend to dig for the bigger, systemic issues underlying that story.

We may disagree on the story’s value, or how we would individually approach the topic. But I have noticed how sharing our differing viewpoints with one another helps each of us uncover a side of the issue we otherwise might not have discovered on our own. We truly complement one another, which in the end enriches the way we present stories out of Mexico. One of GP’s core values in reporting is balance, and we demonstrate why this is necessary not only within a story, but also as a reporting team.

In that diversity, we have also learned how to better communicate and understand one another. It is increasingly more common for us to message one another or to share concerns among the team — related to payments, technical issues or editorial processes — rather than one person communicating only to me. This experience has taught us that it’s more likely that someone will get an answer in this way, or that someone else will suggest an idea that had not crossed another person’s mind.

My goal for this year is that the Mexico team will grow larger, so that an increase in staff produces an increase in voices.

 

Natalia Aldana, GPJ, translated this blog from Spanish.