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2019 The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Large Newsroom winner

A Different Border Crisis

About the Project

For four months this spring, a team of Cronkite News reporters investigated why an aging network of pipes and wastewater treatment plants that runs from Mexico into communities along the border keeps failing. They discovered people who live in Imperial Beach, California, in Naco and Nogales in Arizona and in Texas communities along the Rio Grande all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. That’s because when heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns. It’s a system that was built about 70 years ago that U.S. and Mexican officials say they need millions of dollars to fix it. These students produced broadcast videos, a podcast, digital story and infographics to report on the problems, history, solutions and who’s responsible for making repairs.

Austin Westfall and Chloe Jones accepted the 2019 David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Large Newsroom. (Video by Aiyana Ishmael, ONA19 HBCU Fellow)