Five years ago, Tijuana journalist Jesus Blancornelas was ambushed. His driver/bodyguard was riddled with 40 bullets, and Blancornelas was hit four times. The first photojournalist at the scene was his son, Rene, who snapped photos as his father lay on a stretcher, having narrowly escaped death. Veteran journalist Dennis Morgigno goes to Tijuana to find out why Blancornelas refuses to stop writing the truth about drug cartels and crooked politicians, even if it means his life. Forefront featuring Jesus Blan-cornelas debuts Friday, Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. on Cox Communications’ Channel 4 San Diego.
Never before in San Diego television history has a program aired in a fully bilingual format. This riveting “discussion” between the English-speaking Morgigno and Spanish-speaking Blancornelas will include subtitles in both languages. The result is a natural and captivating half-hour program that transcends any language barrier.
A native of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Blancornelas started his own independent publication with a colleague after a string of firings for writing against the government. The paper folded, according to Blancornelas, because of fabricated labor disputes. Refusing to give up, Blancornelas began the independent weekly Zeta with Hector Felix Mir-anda. The partners focused on stories about corruption and drug trafficking. While working on an investigative piece on politicians, Felix Miranda was gunned down.
Today, Blancornleas commutes to work in a bullet-proof vest, darkened car, and accompanied by 13 armed guards. Due to $250,000 and $80,000 contracts on his life in San Diego, he is afraid to cross the border and only goes to work.
A major figure in the international fight to defend journalists’ rights to report the news both freely and fairly, Blan-cornelas received the prestigious International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Project Journalists. He has become a symbol of strength and courage in his country and around the world.