March 10, 2017
America was still stunned by Donald Trump’s victory, and all of the change that it would mean, when the American-Statesman sent a team of six reporters and photographers to travel nearly the entire length of the Texas-Mexico border to write about the new president’s wall.
The first story in this series was published on March 10, about six weeks into the Trump administration.
The stories examined how the existing border fence is already affecting communities in the Rio Grande Valley — some of them on the Mexico side of the wall, even though they are still US soil.
It told how Maverick County, with 290 parcels that touch the Rio Grande, would be a case study in the difficulties the government would have acquiring the land for new wall segments.
The team studied the impact the wall would have in places like Big Bend and Falcon Lake, providing our readers with stories, videos and photos, as well as data and graphics.
The project was a true collaboration between reporters, visual journalists, our data team and web designers. Those teams worked together to enhance the project with a “Postcards from the river’s edge” interactive element, which brought readers to out-of-the-way places like the Montezuma bald cypress in Abrams and introduced them to unique characters like Marco Paredes, a retired park ranger in Big Bend.
All that travel — nearly 750 miles — was a considerable investment, both in labor and money, for a mid-sized newspaper that prides itself on competing toe to toe with papers three times its size.
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Submitted by John Bridges.