July 2, 2018

Last fall, the USA Today Network published a multimedia, multi-newsroom series on the U.S./Mexico border. That series, “The Wall,” won the network a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.

Now, the project’s feature-length documentary is hitting the road. Screenings are planned in Washington, D.C.; Phoenix; Nashville; El Paso; Lafayette, Louisiana; Los Angeles; Austin; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Louisville and Corpus Christi starting July 14.

The mission with the entire project has been to educate the audiences about border and immigration issues, said Liz Nelson, USA Today Network's vice president of content development. Some people will read the stories, others will watch the VR, "and still others by going to the border with our journalists in this film."

For the project, journalists mapped 2,000 miles along the border. “The Wall” included a podcast, a newsletter, 360-degree video, stories and photography. Journalists from USA Today Network newsrooms in California, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin contributed to the project. (Disclosure: The USA Today Network is a custom training partner with Poynter.)

In its Pulitzer citation, judges noted “The Wall” had “vivid and timely reporting that masterfully combined text, video, podcasts and virtual reality to examine, from multiple perspectives, the difficulties and unintended consequences of fulfilling President Trump's pledge to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.”

That wall and immigration in general have made news since the 2016 election, but particularly over the past week, as news continued to break about family separation at the border.

"We hope our audiences leave feeling more educated and with more insight into how these issues affect people on both sides of the border and all sides of the political spectrum," Nelson said. 

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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