UNTOLD STORIES | TOP-TIER MEDIA

IN MEXICO AND IN THE UNITED STATES

Reported by Mexican and American Journalists

in Partnership

ABOUT ROUND EARTH’S PARTNERSHIP MODEL

As a reporter and editor who has worked in national and international news for decades, I believe Round Earth’s unique reporting model is the way of the future. U.S. and Mexican journalists are mentored by veterans in the field and share their different perspectives with each other in an egalitarian working relationship. This work builds an understanding of contemporary Mexico for readers and listeners in both countries. — Leda Hartman

OUR STORIES

Meet Latin America’s Teenage Korean Pop Fanatics

If you want to get a sense of what Mexican teenagers are up to these days, here’s an unexpected place to start: A Korean bakery in downtown Mexico City.

Every Sunday, dozens of teens — mostly female — convene here to eat Korean snacks and geek out about their favorite boy bands. They’re known as los k-popers – a growing subculture of Mexican kids who are crazy for Korean pop music.

Read and listen to this story on NPR.

 

Midwives Transform and Improve Women’s Health

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Photo Credit: LILIÁN LÓPEZ CAMBEROS

Good maternal health care is a challenge in many parts of rural Mexico. Maternity hospital wards are often overcrowded and caesarian sections are routinely scheduled, rather than allowing time for the natural birth process to take place. But in the rural state of Guerrero, the Mexican government has just opened its first maternity hospital with trained, professional midwives to help alleviate these problems. We pay a visit to Guerrero and see how these new developments are making giving birth easier for women.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in El Universal Domingo in Spanish.

Read our English translation here.

Repatriation: Costs and Benefits for Mexican Communities as Migrant Workers Return Home

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Reporters Lillian Lopez Camberos and Monica Ortiz Uribe interview schoolchildren in the field.

For the first time in 40 years, there are as many Mexican migrant workers returning to Mexico as coming into the US. The main reasons for this are the slowing US economy and tighter restrictions on immigrants. This story looks at the costs and benefits Mexican communities face when migrant workers return. On the one hand, those workers are no longer sending remittances back from the US, and they need services like housing and schooling when they get back home.On the other hand, the remittances they have sent back have often been used for local development, and Mexico’s improving economy means migrants can often find good local jobs that weren’t there a few years ago. We follow a group of migrants as they cross the border from the US into Mexico and arrive in their home state of Zacatecas, to tell the story of this major transition.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in Spanish in El Universal Domingo.

Read our English translation here

One Man’s Mission to Help Indigenous Mexicans Register Their Children at Birth

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Photo Credit: LILIÁN LÓPEZ CAMBEROS

In many rural, indigenous Mexican communities, parents will often neglect to register their children at birth. In fact, in the rural states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas, nearly 10 percent of adults are unregistered, and that number is much higher for infants. One reason for this is the cost of registration; another is the fact that indigenous communities tend to be fairly isolated and self-contained, and everyone knows everyone else, so a birth certificate isn’t considered necessary. But outside of the community, living without a birth certificate is like being undocumented in one’s own country: you can’t get a higher education, you can’t apply for advanced jobs, you can’t get a passport and you can’t vote.

We visit one man in the state of Oaxaca who’s single-handedly trying to get people registered.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in Spanish in El Universal Domingo.

Rising Economy: Illustrating Mexico’s Competitive Edge and Its Mixed Blessings

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Photo Credit: MARLON BISHOP

In spite of the global economic slowdown, Mexico’s economy is doing surprisingly well, growing by 4% in 2012. One reason for that growth is a rise in manufacturing in heavy industries. Auto production in Mexico increased by more than 13% this year, outpacing many other major producers, including the US. In fact, starting next year, New York’s new taxis will be manufactured by Nissan in Cuernavaca, not the US.Ford is assembling their vaunted Ford Fusion in Sonora, and Audi recently announced plans to build a new high-tech plant in Puebla. The growth in the industry has been spurred by a combination of cheap manual labor, lower transportation costs compared to countries like China and the growing availability of highly-skilled workers, as well as by the trade benefits of belonging to NAFTA.  We take a visit to Puebla and Cuernavaca to illustrate Mexico’s competitive edge. But we also unpack why Mexico’s growth is failing to narrow the wealth gap, and address the mixed blessing of NAFTA.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in Spanish in Animal Politico.

An Unusual Mexican Orchestra

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Electric Guitar by Pedro Reyes
Courtesy of Lisson Gallery, London
Photograph © Ken Adlard

Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes is in the process of converting thousands of  weapons seized by the government into musical instruments. The project, titled Imagine, has so far produced 50 working instruments ranging from pistol-flutes to shotgun-zithers, with more being churned out all the time. Reyes and a team of machinists and musicians have been working long hours in his Mexico City workshop to build the instruments.  In Spring 2013,  he put on a major concert with music commissioned for the instruments in the UK. Proceeds from the event went to support gun control legislation in the US – the source of almost all of Mexico’s illegal weapons. We visit Reyes and his workshop and look at the symbolism of what he’s creating.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in Spanish in Animal Politico.

Purpepecha Indigenous People’s Courageous Efforts to Protect their Community

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Ireneo Rojas, dean of the Intercultural Indigenous University of Michoacan, worked with the Purepecha to bring back their ancient way of government. Photo credit: Isabella Cota

This story profiles the courage of the Purepecha, indigenous people living in the Mexican state of Michoacan, where drug violence and illegal logging are rampant. For years, the Purepecha had asked their state and local government for help, to no avail. Then last year, they took matters into their own hands, setting up their own autonomous government according to historical tradition and establishing their own voluntary security system. Though they still face uncertainties and economic hardship, the Purepecha haven’t looked back: they’re committed to keeping their community safe and independent.

Listen to this story on NPR and read it in the Christian Science Monitor.

Read it in Spanish in Sin Embargo.

How Childhood is Changing in Mexico

Mexico has one of the highest rates of child bullying in the world. In this story, we hear from a teacher and interview a 15-year-old girl whose experience indicates ways in which violence in some parts of Mexico is influencing young people.  We hear from an anti-bullying activist about what can be done.

Listen to this story on NPR.

Read it in Spanish in Reforma.

Mexicans Embrace Korean Pop Music

Pending on NPR and Animal Politico.

Mexico Uncovered: Untold stories from the Mexico you don’t know.

An hour-long magazine-style radio documentary for NPR. These stories and more. For broadcast late 2013 through 2014.