A successful multimedia package: “Born and Raised”

“Born and Raised” is a story on BorderStories.org that addresses the issue of illegal aliens who were brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans. It features an 18-year-old who was born in Guadelajara and brought to Arizona by his mother. The video package shows him being interviewed in Nogales, Sonora, as he was discovered and deported.

Jose Rivera has found himself enclosed in a culture he barely knows. He has only been to Mexico once and views America as his home, yet he is not allowed to remain with his mother and American-born sisters. He doesn’t know anyone in Mexico, does not have a Mexican past, and has nowhere to turn to.

This particular interview was a brilliant journalistic choice. Rivera’s story depicts the immigration issue on a personal level.

This multimedia package is successful because it allows the audience to become acquainted with a person deeply affected by a larger story. Immigration is an ongoing issue that is very often difficult for American-born citizens to relate to. It is very easy to think, “if you don’t want to get deported, then don’t come here illegally.” But it is a much more complicated issue than that, and this story shows why.

The story is mostly video-based, the key-component being an interview with the subject, Jose Rivera. The video itself is very successful because it does a brilliant job of capturing a moment. Rivera is being filmed on the porch of Grupo Beta, a government organization designed to help illegal immigrants. His facial expression reveals sadness. His tone of voice and his posture reflect a detachedness. The background, being the small building that houses the organization with the faces of displaced Mexicans sitting in front of it, conveys a bigger picture.

The video itself was very well shot. The cameraman successfully and tactfully zoomed and panned. When Rivera started nervously fidgeting with a wad of paper in his hand, the cameraman zoomed in so that the audience could only see his hands, while the audio of his interview could still be heard over the shot.

The editing was simple and smart. Instead of cutting the interview short, the editors ended with Rivera and others sitting in front of Grupo Beta turning to face the new group of deported Mexicans being brought to the organization.

The written story beneath the video is brief, yet succinct. It informs the audience about the bigger picture. It talks about DREAM: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. Without getting into all of the partisan debate surrounding immigration policy, the article gracefully touches upon the information itself, being the legislation in progress.

The package was timely. It was published in the Spring of 2008, as legislators poured over the issue. While they discussed, BorderStories.com offered this insight into a world that is frequently unseen from government officials. The DREAM Act passed this Fall in California.

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