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Watchdog reporting: Impact journalism from the past week

Sunday, August 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
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A look at some examples of impact reporting from the past week.

Arizona Republic: Juvenile smugglers face adult justice

Fourteen-year-old Jesus heard the sound of an air cannon firing bundles of marijuana over the fence from Mexico into the U.S. one evening in February, the Arizona Republic reports. Jesus and a friend raced to retrieve one of the bundles, then hauled it to a nearby trailer park west of Douglas. Border Patrol agents, who had been watching all of this on surveillance cameras, arrived moments later. They found a bundle stashed under an abandoned trailer. They also found Jesus hiding under another trailer, his 20-year-old accomplice nearby. All together, the bundles weighed 101 pounds. Now Jesus, a U.S. citizen, sits in a cell at the Cochise County Jail in Bisbee, a juvenile facing adult felony drug-smuggling charges. For years criminal organizations have recruited juveniles from border communities to help transport marijuana and other drugs from Mexico into the U.S. with promises of easy money and little consequences if caught. Over the past year, however, dozens of juveniles caught by the Border Patrol helping transport marijuana across the border have been prosecuted as adults by the Cochise County Attorney's Office under state laws.

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Los Angeles Times: LA fixes mediocre streets, leaving rest to crumble

Even as Mayor Eric Garcetti touts improving streets in Los Angeles, some areas rife with crumbling roads have seen them fall further into disrepair, a Los Angeles Times analysis shows. City streets have gotten better over the past three years, as the overall pavement quality grade has increased to a C-plus. Those gains are especially striking in the San Fernando Valley, where the improvement rate was double that found in the rest of the city. But neighborhoods such as Mount Washington and Silver Lake, which ranked among the shoddiest in a Times analysis three years ago, have gotten worse. The inequity is the result of a strategy akin to reverse triage: Unable to pay to fix all its broken streets, L.A. has chosen to spend its money to preserve so-so roadways — and largely ignore the very worst.

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Washington Post: Millennial voters see 2016 as a bad joke

The Washington Post says Jo Tongue doesn’t have much time for politics, but the Hillary and Trump show is hard to tune out. And even harder to take. To this 31-year-old mother of two, with a third on the way, the presidency should be an honorable office, but instead she feels “bummed that we’re at a place where it all feels like a joke.” Tongue says she is both “sad” and “defeated” and — in a world filled with shootings, bombings and financial strain — maintains scant hope that a new president will change any of it. … Polling suggests that the millennial generation will act much the same this November as it did four and eight years ago — by voting heavily for the Democratic nominee, though with a considerable share supporting a third-party candidate. But in interviews this past week with more than 70 young voters in nine states from diverse backgrounds, lifestyles and careers, it is clear their mood is decidedly different from previous elections. Despite their varied lives, most of those interviewed shared a disgust with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump so intense that it is pushing many beyond disillusionment and toward apathy.

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