By Kimberly Wilborn, RTDNA News
“Immigration is so complex that you want to explain it, you want to go beyond the label. Explain that person’s story… It’ll make you a better reporter, an even better storyteller,”
Cindy Carcamo, an immigration reporter from the LA Times, told a room full of journalism professionals.
For many journalists, immigration is a difficult topic to cover. Thursday afternoon, a panel of immigration experts discussed the importance of covering immigrant stories and the challenges that come with it. The panel featured five journalists such as Maria Hinojosa, the host of NPR’s “Latino USA”, Cindy Carcamo, an immigration reporter from the LA Times, Mireya Villarreal, a correspondent from CBS News, Roque Planas from the Huffington Post, and Adolfo Flores, a Buzzfeed reporter covering Latino Issues. Mayra Alvarez, the president of The Children’s Partnership was also a panelist answering questions.
They reflected on the difficulty of protecting an undocumented person’s identity in a story and the difficulty of obtaining information 'on the record’. They also spoke about their experience with building trust to acquire an interview.
Carcamo said “really immersing yourself in what they’re dealing with on a daily basis. That’s what develops the trust.”
The Trump administration’s recent decision to rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was also mentioned along with questions about what role journalists will play in the current political climate in regards to immigration.
Hinojosa stated, “the government has their [DACA individuals’] information so it’s going to be an interesting dynamic for us to witness this as journalists because it’s going to be very painful. We don’t know what’s going to happen when a young DACA person gets arrested… In our world of journalism, things are changing so quickly and we are in the midst of it.”
Cindy Carcamo on the importance of telling immigration stories: