Dirty Work: Hispanic Immigrants Clean the Gulf

Clean up workers in the Gulf of Mexico find oil in the sand - Photo: Annie Correal

Clean-up workers in the Gulf of Mexico find oil in the sand. (Photo: Annie Correal)

FI2W reporter Annie Correal spent two weeks this summer in Louisiana covering the impact of the oil spill on Hispanic workers. The culmination of her work for El Diario/La Prensa, Trabajo Sucio,’ or ‘Dirty Work,‘ incorporates video, podcasts, slide-shows, maps and other interactive graphics about the BP spill, all from the perspective of oil spill clean-up workers. She gathered testimonies from oil spill migrants, women, and fishermen-turned-clean-up workers, all of them Latino immigrants.

In videos and podcasts, these workers explain how they came to do this work, what it entails and how they feel about it. One worker describes what happened when Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities arrived at her clean-up site, a visit which Correal discovered and revealed to the nation.

The project places these workers’ accounts in the context of the larger environmental crisis, with an animated graphic that shows how oil spread across the Gulf of Mexico, as well as an animated graphic that shows exactly how clean-up work is performed. The multimedia package also provides an introduction to the oil spill clean-up industry, which has strong ties to the oil industry.

On this trip, Correal also produced a number of radio pieces about the clean-up effort and told stories of the immigrants working on the Louisiana bayous, boats and beaches in the months following the spill.

The BP oil spill story is by now well known, the voices of these workers are what make this project new.

Visit El Diario/La Prensa’s web portal for Trabajo Sucio,’ or ‘Dirty Work’

Radio stories reported from the Gulf of Mexico by Annie Correal:

Hard, Dirty Work: Latino Workers Clean Up the Gulf of Mexico
Aired 8/13/10 on Latino USA

The Life of Dominican-American Women Cleaning Up BP’s Oil Spill
Aired 6/23/10 on PRI’s The World

Slipping Away: Livelihood and Way-of-Life Fade for Immigrant Fishermen in the Gulf
Aired 6/18/10 on Latino USA

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AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in 2 Worlds (Fi2W) is an independent media outlet, journalism training program, and launchpad for emerging immigrant journalists and media makers of color. Our work brings positive and meaningful change to America's newsrooms and has a broader impact on how immigration is reported and the ethnic and racial composition of news organizations.