June 27, 2018

Frustrated at the Trump administration’s limited information about thousands of migrant children separated from their parents, a group of news organizations are joining forces to help track down the kids.

BuzzFeed News, ProPublica, The Intercept and Univision announced Wednesday that they are partnering to gather vital information about the children in immigration detention facilities and shelters. Joining the effort: a leading Mexican news site, Animal Político, the Guatemalan site Plaza Pública, and El Faro, from El Salvador.

The outlets will be asking readers for tips and information — including through secure channels — about what's happening on the ground at the border, in shelters, in facilities and in courtrooms.

The outlets got together to crowdsource this information because actual information on the children "was hard to come by" and state agencies weren't getting federal help, says Jessica Garrison, a senior BuzzFeed News investigative editor.

"We're inviting people to use the online tool, which ProPublica designed, or to reach out to us through our tips line or secure messaging, to help us tell the stories of people who are affected by this policy and to hold accountable those who oversee it," says Ariel Kaminer, also a senior investigations editor at BuzzFeed News.

The ProPublica tool identifies facilities where children may be held. The news outlets are asking anyone who has direct knowledge about a family that has been separated or a facility where children are being held to tell them what they know.

BuzzFeed News is asking for readers to send any tips and information through secure methods or over email at tips@buzzfeed.com depending on preference comfortability and sensitivity of material. Here are the ways the outlet solicits secure and anonymous tips: https://contact.buzzfeed.com/

The consortium will not be releasing the names of children and other sensitive information.

Here are the ProPublica call-outs in English and in Spanish.

Detail of the ProPublica mapping project in Spanish
Detail of the ProPublica mapping project in Spanish. Used with permission.

Other news organizations such as the Texas Tribune and The Washington Post have sought community help in information such as tracking down shelters housing the children, and a group of researchers is using library science to work on the same issue. 

UPDATE: El Faro from El Salvador is also a partner on the crowdsourcing effort.


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