Unreported World – review

An investigation teetering on the brink of despair focused on the Mexican woman with the hardest job in journalism

In Unreported World (C4), Evan Williams talked to journalists who risk their lives every day, not as war correspondents, but as ordinary beat reporters in their own home town.

Mind you, Ciudad Juárez in Mexico is basically a war zone, with statistics to rival any other. More than 3,000 people were murdered there last year. While two rival drug gangs – the Juárez and Sinaloa cartels – fight to dominate the lucrative supply routes to the US, whole areas of the city have been abandoned; 400,000 people out of a population of 1.5m have fled.

In an investigation that teetered on the brink of despair, Williams shadowed El Diario's Luz Sosa as she went round the city tallying up the day's killings. She knows the risk she's taking reporting the cartels' crimes: 50 journalists have been murdered in Juárez in the last four years, including her immediate predecessor at the paper. When she covered the killing of one El Diario's own photographers, the article was left next to a severed head as a warning.

When she's not doing what is arguably the bravest job in journalism, Luz is also a single mother with two children. "My daughter said she didn't want to be an orphan," said Luz, with something approaching total resignation. "I'm preparing that path for them".

Corruption in Juárez is endemic. Politicians and police at every level – municipal, state and federal – are in league with the cartels. Imagine, if you can, a land where journalists are the only remaining good guys. And even they're giving up the fight. Many Mexican newspapers have stopped reporting on the drug wars altogether, but El Diario's slogan is "Sin periodistas no hay democracia" (Without journalists there is no democracy). Luz wears a shirt with it written on the back. "It's what we believe," she says. It's what we all believe, allegedly.