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Documented’s Coverage of NYC Migration Crisis Nominated for Deadline Club Award

Fisayo Okare

Apr 14, 2023

Los traumas que los hicieron huir de sus países de origen, sumado a las dificultades que encuentran al llegar a Nueva York, tienen a los inmigrantes que habitan los refugios de la ciudad de Nueva York con serios problemas de salud mental. Aquí, cuentan sus historias y las consecuencias que han tenido por buscar una mejor vida.

Danira and her daughters, ages 3 and 9, walking to their shelter after school on a rainy day. Photo by Rommel H. Ojeda

Documented’s reporters have been unrelenting in their coverage of New York City’s migration crisis following the rapid increase in the arrival of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to New York in the summer of 2022. 

Now, their efforts have been crowned in an annual awards contest by the Deadline Club — the NYC chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. 

Our coverage is among the finalists selected from 550 entries to the Deadline Club’s 2023 Awards Contest. There are 36 categories in the contest. Coverage about the City’s migration crisis from Documented’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio and Rommel H. Ojeda was named finalist for The Les Payne Award for Coverage on Communities of Color. The news outlets Bloomberg News and NBC News were the two other finalists in the same category as Documented. 

Giulia and Rommel have covered the migration crisis’ impact on mental health, reporting on the story of a mother who died by suicide at a Queens shelter while living with her children

Last year, Rommel, who oversees Documented’s WhatsApp community platform and covers Spanish-speaking New Yorkers, wrote a community-powered investigation, with the freelance journalist Lucía Cholakian Herrera, about how asylum seekers use TikTok to document their journey from South America to the U.S. border. He has also written actionable information on working rights for undocumented workers and asylum seekers, and how to find a detained family member.

Just last Friday, Rommel was telling us in the newsroom that one thing that made him happy was that we had a guide to everything someone on our WhatsApp platform was asking for that morning. 

Shortly after that, he connected another migrant to City sources that eventually helped her get her travel documents to return to Peru. “Bittersweet,” Rommel said. “But she was super thankful.”

Giulia, our immigration enforcement reporter, who is also a Report for America Corps member, has reported on the scarcity of resources at shelters, the lack of legal representation and the long lines outside of immigration court hearings. She has also shown how migrant children are adjusting to their new lives in the City. 

It was evident from the beginning that many migrants did not have any local family members to help them navigate the City. Despite our staff’s efforts to provide directions and explanations, some information was still incomprehensible to them. Hence, we developed two additional websites to aid migrants in navigating their new home: www.newimmigrants.nyc and www.nuevosinmigrantes.nyc.

Winners of the Deadline Club’s 2023 Awards will be announced during the Club’s annual awards dinner on Thursday, May 18 at the Harvard Club.

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Fisayo Okare

Fisayo writes Documented’s "Early Arrival" newsletter and "Our City" column. She is an MSc. graduate of Columbia Journalism School, New York, and earned her BSc. degree in Mass Comm. from Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.




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