2018 The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Large Newsroom finalist

The Deported: Life Beyond the Border

About the Project

President Trump referred to some as “animals.” President Obama was famously known as “The Deporter in Chief.” Often demonized by politicians, if you look past the headlines you’ll find people caught in between a country that kicked them out and a country they literally don’t understand. Most media stories end when they are deported, but that’s when theirs truly begins. No matter the reason, once deported they all begin their journey at El Chaparral in Tijuana, Mexico.

For the Spring 2018 semester edition of JOVRNALISM, 12 USC students used immersive technologies to capture and tell the stories of the deported, those around them and those left behind.

During Spring Break, some of the class went to Tijuana to capture diverse stories of the deportees – including families, mothers and even US Veterans – as well as the grassroots community that has emerged to help them. Other students stayed in the United States to capture the stories from this side of the border.

What they produced is a beautiful and powerful 5-part immersive documentary about Life Beyond the Border. In additional to their thorough reporting and engaging storytelling, here are some highlights to look for in the project:

  • Working long hours, students conducted dozens of interviews across Tijuana to capture different angles to the complex story. They took 360 cameras to locations ranging from dangerous places like El Chaparral (the starting point for deportees) to festive places like Friendship Park.
  • Students developed a new technique to easily bring illustrations into immersive storytelling. (How to blog post will be added to the website soon)
  • Students conceived the idea to use 360-video to bring two worlds together and created the merged experience in the Destinee chapter. (One team was in Mexico while another team was in the U.S. to capture the father/daughter call in real time.)
  • After the semester was over, students went down to the border to cover the Migrant Caravan as it was seeking asylum in the US, producing pieces for NPR (267,000 views) and Al Jazeera’s Contrast VR (69,000 views).
  • Keep in mind that these students have never produced immersive pieces prior to talking this hackathon-style course. This semester, the majority of the students were not journalism majors.The Deported project is 100-percent produced by the students. They did the research, reporting, designing and production for this immersive experience. JOVRNALISM is a class/hackathon-style course at USC led by Prof. Robert Hernandez.