The death of Massachusetts-born journalist Armando Montano in Mexico City, in the elevator shaft of a building near his apartment, raised immediate suspicions in a country where six journalists have been killed in the last few months. Just 22, Montano was an intern in the Associated Press office. While he covered violence related to Mexico’s notorious drug gangs, there is, as yet, no evidence linking his death to his reporting duties.
Despite his youth, Montano was making a difference merely by his presence. His enthusiasm was, in itself, a rebuke to the thuggish cartels, which have sought to intimidate reporters into failing to cover the country’s drug-related corruption.
Montano could serve as a reminder to a lot of journalists about why they entered the business. While studying abroad in Buenos Aires in 2009, he sought work at the AP office after a strike forced suspension of classes at the university. It was an example of an enterprising nature that would come in handy on future assignments.
Come fall, Montano was headed for a master’s degree program in journalism at the University of Barcelona. He might easily have secured a stateside job where journalists’ greatest fears are their economic survival in a changing industry. Instead, he chased stories in Mexico, where the public’s right to know is challenged as much as anyplace in the world. He described the decision to his mother, a onetime reporter and editor herself for the Globe and the Denver Post, as “the best thing I’ve ever done.’’