Midterm Story Draft – Myrka Moreno

From Cinco de Mayo to the tragic story of Tejano music star Selena, Latino culture has always been a prominent component of America, but there is a massive part of the culture that is often overlooked. Migrants are seasonal agricultural farmworkers that travel across the nation for months at a time to work demanding hours under rigorous conditions.

While not all migrants are Latinos, a large portion of workers identify as Hispanic of Latino. According to a 2014 report by Farmworker Justice, seventy-six percent of all farmworkers are Hispanic or Latino, with seventy percent being native Spanish speakers.

There are approximately 2.5 million migrant farmworkers, yet their stories are hardly ever heard. Many of the workers are undocumented, but an exact number is unavailable because most are afraid to speak about their citizenship status.

The work they do does not make it any easier to be an undocumented immigrant in America. They leave their home for months at a time, often leaving family behind including children as the harsh conditions are not ideal. They start their work days before sunrise and finish after the sunset.

Their kids follow their family into the fields as soon as they are old enough to work. The money is not enough for college, but enough to live life with a few luxuries like a nice car and name brand clothes.

This often discourages the kids from continuing their education. Some drop out of high school, while others end their education career after receiving their diploma.

The College Assistance Migrant Program is one of the few organizations that aims to change that. They offer resources and scholarships to migrant students in a few college campuses across the country.

Some, like the one here at St. Edward’s, pay tuition for a select number of students. But most of the students are first-generation college students whose families still spend their summers in the field, making the experience just as difficult.

Most migrant workers live solely off the money they make during farming season. So one less body in the field can be tough for families.

Midterm Story Pitch – Myrka Moreno

A migrant is defined as a person who moves from place to place to do seasonal work. Many migrants in the U.S. are Latinos who face discrimination everyday. They are often seen as lazy or job stealers, when what the job entails is quite rigorous.

Migrants travel throughout the country working in agricultural jobs during farming season. Some depend on the money they make in one season alone until the next season comes around. The living conditions are harsh and the work is even worse.

Migrants are often unseen and unheard of, yet play a major role in the U.S. agricultural community. Conditions have become worse for workers, who are often away from their families months at a time. Now they face the threat of stricter immigration laws, travel bans and proposed border walls that will make the separation feel greater. OK, so you have stated an issue. What is the story? Are you going to profile a migrant worker? If so, do you have someone in mind? Where will we see this person? What will he/she be doing? Try to focus this issue and to think about how you would shape it into a story.

PHOTO MYRKA MORENO

Do you know how I wrote this caption? Click on the photo and up will come a template. Click on the little pencil and up comes THIS template. Write away. Nice shot. A bit distant, but good lighting.
I want to see more restaurant and less parking lot. Unless the point of the story is that Curra’s is doing a thriving business!
The three of these shots together are really nice. You get close to her, so we can see how much fun she’s having. And there is motion. Nice job.

Media Critique: Myrka Moreno

Article: ‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’

Daniel Berehulak is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist from Australia. In December, Berehulak published a haunting interactive article “’They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’” telling the story of the 57 homicides he encountered in the 35 days he spent in the Philippines on The New York Times.  In his graphic article, he includes photos, videos and maps to tell the fallout of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent anti-drug campaign.  The article shows chilling footage and photos of homicide victims from the moment the bodies are found. The pictures do not hide the severity of the situation and he also presents pictures of the funerals that humanize the victims.

From the start the reader is immediately confronted with a photo of a dead body soaked in heavy rain in a dark alley with a quote as a headline in the title page. The photo takes the reader to the scene from the beginning. It does not take long to know that the article will be about the brutal murders of drug dealers and users in the Philippines that began shortly after President Duterte started his anti-drug campaign after his inauguration in June. Berehulak presents a map highlighting the 41 areas where encountered 57 homicides in 35 days. Numbers are key.

Before the article can continue to describe the victims’ horrifying deaths and showing pictures, the reader is warned that graphic images will follow. Immediately after, an image of dead man face-down on the floor while children observe from an alley emerges on the screen. The photo caption, simply includes a title with a “read more” option that provides context. Additionally, a “view location” link is provided that opens a Google Map tab showing the exact location where the body was found. The stark contrast of the traumatic image to the day-time market street filled with kids playing displayed on Google leaves an impression of what is hidden in the dark. Another image shows a young girl crying over her father’s casket. Black and white videos are somehow more graphic and make the reader feel like an intruder of a sick nightmare.

Often, horrific events like these that do not directly some people register as less-than, like a dystopia novel being adapted into a film. Berehulak takes the reader to the homicides. He says, “this is horrifying, and it is real,” with his uncensored photos. It is difficult to focus on anything else but the deaths of these people when reading this article, but one aspect the article lacked was more interactivity with the provided map. There were only dots on the map when a hover function that listed the names of the people who were murdered in that area would have made it more effective. But, Berehulak did not shy away from the explicit truth that is so often hidden from the public for sensitivity. The uncensored photos conveyed the urgency of the situation.

While Berehulak’s writing was very much anecdotal, his interactive elements told a different story of hard hitting news. The photos, while chilling, were beautiful and real. Rather than just presenting the images of the dead body, Berehulak humanized the victims by showing the effect on their families.

Thought Exercise 4 Myrka Moreno

  1. Write the two quotes below and identify them as direct or indirect. (4 points)
    1. Cardenas says his job is to “make sure none of the people were parking in Google’s parking place.” – this is an indirect quote
    2. “You feel like you’re different,” he says. “Even though you’re working in the same place, you’re still like an outsider. And it’s weird because you’re actually protecting these people.” – this is a direct quote.
  1. Write down one question you imagine the reporter asked to get one of these quotes. (1 point)

How do you feel seeing other Google employees get treated differently than you do?

  1. Identify a potential source for a news story of your choosing (think back to thought exercise #3). Write down the source and four potential questions for your interviewee.  (5 points)
    1. A CAMP Scholar at St. Edward’s University
      1. What are some challenges of traveling across the country to work? How does this affect your college career?
      2. Do you think migrant students face more adversity than other students?
      3. As a migrant scholar, have you been treated differently than other students? In a good or bad way?
      4. How does your work life differ from your life at St. Edward’s?

Thought exercise 3 – Myrka Moreno

  1.  Possible news story ideas:
    1. Migrant farm workers
    2. Diversity in the media industry
  2. News values:
    1. Migrant farm workers
      1. Relevance – many migrants are Latinos, usually Mexican, and are facing discrimination when they go work in northern states
      2. Conflict and controversy – a lot of migrant workers are undocumented and use falsified forms of identification to work. Is this legal? Ethical?
      3. Proximity – St. Edward’s has a College Assistance Migrant Program which migrant students are given a scholarship to attend.
      4. Timeliness – how does the proposed wall and/or travel ban affect them?
  1.  Potential sources and interviewees for your story.
    1. Current migrant workers and families
    2. CAMP students
    3. CAMP Director
  2. What types (photos, video, interactive maps, etc.) of interactive media would add depth and understanding to your story?
    1. An interactive map tracking where interviewees are from and where they travel to
    2. Videos of where interviewees work and where they stay during their working period
  3. Explain why the public would find the story relevant, interesting or important.
    1. Migrant farm workers are often unseen and unheard of. They play a major role in the U.S. agricultural community. From working hands on in the fields to the factories, migrants are there for the whole process, yet they are often underpaid and live in terrible conditions. They travel across the country to work for a few months and they must make the money last until the next season. Additionally, they are facing more discrimination now than ever before. A story on migrant workers would give faces to them and give the audience an insight into who is being affected by strict immigration policies, travel bans, and border walls that separate them from their families.

Thought Exercise 2 Myrka Moreno

  1. Do the interactive media elements help you to understand the problem of predatory lending? Why or why not?
  • I found the interactive graphic model helpful min understanding just how much money the tribe is actually losing.
  1. Who might benefit from reading and engaging with this content?
  • Victims of payday lenders would benefit from this article because it provides good information as well as simple graphics and pictures that help understand the gravity of the situation.
  1. Why do you think there are such differences in the percentage change in childhood homelessness from state to state? Does the map help you to understand causes or reasons for the different increases?
  • I think population plays a factor in the percentage change, but I did not find the map helpful when it cam to understanding why the students are homeless.
  1. Name the two states with the highest percentage of homeless students as a “share of all students.” (Be careful, not looking for percentage change)
  • California, 21.3%
  • New York, 8.3%

5. Explore the Frontline web app “Concussion Watch (Links to an external site.)” and answer this question: What creative techniques are used to attract your attention?

  • First, the website displays a triple-digit number bold and center of the website followed by what the number represents. Then, the site lets the user choose how you want to see the concussions displayed, whether by players, teams or positions. Additionally, the the site uses the color red to give a sense of urgency to the numbers.
  1. Does the interactive web app “Concussion Watch” help you understand the issue of concussions in the National Football League? Why or why not?
  • I found Concussion Watch helpful because I am not particularly interested in sports so this is not a topic I would normally pay attention to. The site is easy to maneuver and comprehend.