Hunting for Good Journalism About Immigration

Photo: Ricardo Francone/flickr

International newspapers. (Photo: Ricardo Francone/flickr)

It’s hard these days to open a newspaper or read the news online without coming across stories about immigration.  The recent federal court injunction against Arizona’s SB 1070 (on the eve of the law’s effective date) has been a huge factor in keeping the issue in the headlines.

Now the focus is shifting to a new Republican-led effort to repeal the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The idea targets the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants by removing the constitutional guarantee that anyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen of this country, regardless of where their parents were born.

But who is doing the best job of reporting on immigration? Where can you find the most insightful coverage?

NewsTrust, a website that “helps people find and share good journalism online” has just announced the results of its Immigration News Hunt.  They spent the final two weeks in July “look(ing) for good journalism about immigration — with a focus on Arizona’s controversial law.”

Among the favorites are stories by the Washington Post, National Public Radio and the Arizona Republic.  Other pieces that got high marks on the NewsTrust site are from the Cato Institute, Wikipedia, Fox News and USA Today.

But wait, there’s something missing: Newspapers and websites that serve immigrant communities, especially Latino readers, began covering this story long before it became the focus of national media attention.  But neither NewsTrust, nor any of its members who nominated stories for the Immigration News Hunt deemed coverage in ethnic media worthy of mention.

So, here are some of our suggestions for recent outstanding coverage of immigration.  In the interest of full disclosure, some of the pieces we highlight here come from friends and partners of Feet in Two Worlds.

The Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion put together a terrific multi-media presentation on SB 1070.  You can see it at Impre.com. In addition to giving the history of the law (it would have given police in Arizona sweeping powers to detain people they suspect of being in the state illegally), the site reports on the boycott against Arizona and presents stories of families impacted in the run-up to the law’s implementation.  The site also offers advice to anyone who is detained in Arizona under the new law.

Colorlines this week published a frank discussion of the boycott of Arizona to protest SB 1070, and whether it is still relevant.

The Arizona law has gotten lots of attention in New York.  It’s understandable, considering the city’s huge immigrant population. For a good sampling of both news reports and editorials on the subject published in New York’s ethnic and community media, see Voices That Must Be Heard, the website of the New York Community Media Alliance.

If it’s raw coverage you’re looking for, check out video shot by members of the PUENTE movement, an immigrant rights group based in Phoenix.  It may not be journalism in the tradition of the New York Times, but it sure conveys a sense of what it feels like on the streets of the Arizona capital city these days.

Finally, Hispanic News offers tons of Arizona coverage and opinion.  The site even has a column suggesting that bringing the World Cup to Arizona would help heal the wounds created by SB 1070.  Maybe, but is the soccer world ready to sacrifice its finest players to heat exhaustion under the blistering Arizona sun in the name of political reconciliation?  We’ll have to wait and see.

This is not a complete list, but it gives you an idea of the variety and quality of journalism that’s available in ethnic media at this critical moment in the debate over immigration.

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