Every trade has its lingo… and journalism is no exception. However there are some distinct concepts in the microcosm of Mexican journalism, many of which do not have direct translations into English. Below, a small glossary.

Chayote: Campaign advertising on the front page of a national newspaper days before the 2012 presidential election

Chayote: Campaign advertising on the front page of a national newspaper days before the 2012 presidential election

Amarillismo: Yellow journalism, sensationalism meant to grab attention and sell rather than to inform. “Periodicazos” and “nota roja” (see below) count as amarillismo.

Boletinismo: The widely-accepted practice of publishing verbatim or loosely rewording a press release and presenting it as an article.

Chayote: Favors, material gifts, or slush fund money from political interests aimed at influencing a reporter or media outlet’s coverage. Not accepting a chayote can have repercussions.

Declaracionitis: “Officials say” form of journalism, articles based entirely on the statements of persons in power.

Fichaje: The tactic of visually documenting attendees of a press conference or a march for the purposes of surveillance. “Orejas” usually carry this out, taking concerted and prolonged video or photos of attendees at an event.

Maicear: The distribution of advertising revenue by public officials for the purpose of influencing a media outlet. Similar to the concept of chayote. Sometimes the influence is obvious in the form of ads. Other times, “maicear” can be paid PR which appears to be an article.

Nota Roja: Over-the-top crime scene reporting often featuring extremely graphic, insensitive, and demeaning photos of violent crime victims. The “nota roja” is one for of “amarillismo”.

Oreja: Literally “an ear”, but in practice a person sent to “fichar” or visually document journalists (and protesters, depending on the context) at a given event for the purpose of surveillance. Orejas often pose as photographers or videographers.

Periodicazo: Coverage based on hearsay or dubious leaks from anonymous sources designed to discredit a person or group. Often slander or libel by US media law standards.

Plata o plomo: Translates as “silver or lead” in reference to “bribe or bullet”. The decision given to some media to either cooperate with organized crime and accept their editorial rules or suffer violent consequences. The illicit version of “chayote”.

Princesa: Literally means “princess”, but is a play on words referring to the “nota principal” or featured story of the day. The motivation of competition among journalists at the same outlet.

Tirar linea: An editorial line dictated either directly or passively by those in power. In practice, perception management with the complicity and participation of the media.

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