Mexico City: Gay journalist found dead in elevator shaft

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Armando Montano, an openly gay apprentice journalist working as a summer intern for the Associated Press in Mexico City, was found dead early Saturday. He was 22 years old.

Montano’s body was found in the elevator shaft of an apartment building near where he was living in the capital’s Condesa neighborhood. The circumstances of his death were being investigated by Mexico City’s law enforcement officials.

AP staffers, on hearing of the popular young reporter’s untimely death, told colleagues: “He absolutely loved journalism and was soaking up everything he could. In his short time with the AP, he won his way into everyone’s hearts with his hard work, his effervescence and his love of the profession.”

“Armando was a smart, joyful, hardworking and talented young man,” said Marjorie Miller, AP’s Latin America editor based in Mexico City.

Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, said: “The loss of this vibrant young journalist is a shock to his colleagues and the long list of people who called Armando friend.”

Montano, who was openly gay, was a member of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Journalists. He was a Newhouse Scholar and member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

In Washington D. C., NLGJA Executive Director Michael Tune said in a statement Monday: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of one of our NLGJA members, Armando Montano.”

“Our thoughts go out to his family. He was a talented individual with a passion for journalism. Armando was to attend this year’s UNITY Student Project, and a member of both NLGJA and NAHJ. Our community has lost a great, young talent,” said Tune.

Richard Berke, an assistant managing editor at The New York Times, who had met Montano at a New York Times Student Journalism Institute in Tucson, Ariz., noted: “Mando was a standout young journalist, with a rare passion and exuberance for life and for people. He accomplished so much and touched so many in a short time, and his potential was truly limitless.”

Montano is survived by his parents, Diane Alters and Mario Montano, both of whom teach at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo.