FIVE MINUTES WITH REPORTER SONIA NAZARIO

April 21, 2008 at 2:53 am Leave a comment

Journalist Sonia Nazario

Adelante Q & A
Volume II, Issue 1 (Fall 2007)

Reporter and author Sonia Nazario traveled from Honduras to the United States clinging to the tops of freight trains to relive the harrowing journey of Enrique, a migrant teenager in search of his mother. Thousands of Central American children take the same perilous journey each year, many searching for mothers who have had to leave them behind in search of work. She began tracing Enrique’s story in a series for the Los Angeles Times that won the Pulitzer Prize among many other awards and has expanded the series into a book, “Enrique’s Journey.” Nazario gave an emotional speech about her experiences on Friday of the weekend conference held Oct. 19-20 on campus.

If you could redo the experience, is there anything you would do differently?
I wish I could have ridden on the train more times then I did. When I went back to expand the series to a book I went alongside the rails but I didn’t actually ride again. I didn’t want to risk that. I picked up these amazing details about this whole world and life on the trains, but I had to consider the fact that I didn’t want to be divorced. Staying married is a good thing.

Do you feel that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do when you first decided why you wanted to be a journalist?
There are plenty of big social issues and problems to write about, and so I don’t think any journalist can be satisfied with what they’ve done. There’s always going to be huge issues to write about, but for me the goal is to try to write about them in the most compelling way possible.

What sort of actions did you hope your book would inspire?
It was mostly aimed at informing people and humanizing immigrants and getting people to start a conversation with immigrants that they know that might clean their offices or homes or take care of their kids and create a better understanding of how these immigrants are. I’m thrilled to hear that as a result of the book there’s better treatment for immigrants.

Knowing the outcomes, do you think that it’s right for a mother to leave her children to ensure them a better life?
It’s hard to know what you would do even knowing the negatives of how this turns out until you’re in that mothers shoes and you’re hearing your kid cry with hunger and you know you have nothing to give your kid and you really know that it’s not gonna turn out well. Although most of these women don’t they really think they’re going to leave and stay gone. They think it’s going to be a short period of time.

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Entry filed under: Fall 2007 issue. Tags: , , .

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