Humberto Millan Salazar, who edited an online newspaper and presented a news programme on local radio, had been kidnapped by armed men on Wednesday.
The US-based journalists' welfare group Committee to Protect Journalists says 58 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992.
It says 25 of those were murdered in direct reprisal for their work.
Mr Millan Salazar, 53, was stopped by masked armed men as he was leaving his house in a residential area of Culiacan on Wednesday.
He was on his way to the Culiacan studios of Radio Formula, where he presented the morning news programme.
He was also the editor of online newspaper A Discusion.
According to the United Nations, Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists to work in.
Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Speech Gustavo Salas said 13 journalists had disappeared across the country since 2000.
"One of the common indicators in these cases is the destructive presence of drug-trafficking in certain areas of the country, which has had an impact on the rise in violence against journalists," he said.
Mr Salas said journalists working in the northern states on the US-Mexico border were worst hit by the violence.
The state of Sinaloa, where Mr Millan Salazar was killed, is the power base of the Sinaloa drug cartel, considered to be the most powerful criminal organisation in the country.
The killing of Mr Millan Salazar comes less than a month after crime reporter Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz was found dead.
Ms Ordaz, who worked for the Notiver newspaper, had her throat cut after being abducted in Veracruz state.
Veracruz officials said they suspected organised crime behind her killing, but denied that she had been killed because of her work.