Tired of hearing about the “crisis-ridden” borderlands? So are we.
Local newsrooms have been decimated in recent years, along with the decline of accurate, community-based reporting. Much of the void has been filled with propaganda and misinformation generated by people who don’t live on the border, let alone care about it. What we get instead is “border theater,” which is the cynical manipulation of information and imagery to burnish political careers or boost media ratings at the expense of our communities.
The Border Chronicle would like to change that. We are Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller, and we’re both longtime journalists based in Tucson, Arizona, who have spent decades writing about border communities in Mexico and the United States. Cumulatively, we have 40 years in the field reporting for media outlets from The New York Times to In These Times and writing books about the region. And we could do another 40 years, because we are endlessly fascinated by the beauty of the borderlands and the ingenuity of the people who live and travel through here. We plan to focus on the big issues challenging our region, such as climate change, economic inequality, government surveillance, and the rapid growth of the border security industrial complex. One way we’ll do this is by zooming in on the community level to talk with everyone from activists, educators, and artists to Border Patrol agents, border industry leaders, and politicians. Our goal is to challenge preconceived notions about the borderlands, even our own.
Original Reporting from a Border Perspective
The Border Chronicle is a weekly newsletter that publishes original, on-the-ground reporting, analysis, and commentary. Every Tuesday and Thursday subscribers will receive our latest dispatch in their inbox. We’ll be doing some investigative reporting, short audio pieces, Q&As, reported pieces, occasional film and book reviews, media critiques, op-eds, and—what the hell—we might even publish some poetry and satire. Eventually, we’d also like to host a podcast. We want to create a community of ideas so that we can break free of the “crisis” narrative that does such a disservice to our region.
Our Granito de Arena
We’ve been around long enough to understand that this is an enormous task. It’s a big region and a 1,954-mile-long international border. To make The Border Chronicle successful, we’ll need your help. Please subscribe. Most of The Border Chronicle is free. For paid subscribers we’ll be offering something extra, including discussion threads with invited border experts as well as comment posting free of troll interference. Please join us as a paid subscriber for $6 a month or at a discounted annual rate of $60. Even better, become a founding member for $125 so we can file more open-records requests and call out those elected officials who consistently fail border communities. (You’ll also get four free subscriptions for friends and family, and our eternal gratitude). We need your support to make The Border Chronicle sustainable so that we can pave the way for others, hire more journalists, and cover more territory.
The Border Chronicle is not just for residents of the border but for anyone who cares deeply about the state of the world. The US-Mexico borderlands are a place where the local meets the national and the international. It is a place where US foreign and domestic policies can be hashed out and cross-border solidarity strengthened.
We Want to Hear from You
Let us know how we’re doing. Also, if you’ve got a story idea or something you think we should dig into, write us an email at TheBorderChronicle@protonmail.com or go the old-school route and send a letter to PO Box 12136, Tucson, Arizona, 85711. (We like letters!)
More about The Border Chronicle’s Authors
Before moving to Tucson in March 2021—after spending a couple of eventful (i.e., pandemic) years in Mexico City—Melissa del Bosque lived in Austin, Texas. From 2007 to 2018 she worked for The Texas Observer, a statewide progressive magazine, where she won an Emmy, National Magazine Award, and several other national journalism prizes for her reporting on the Texas-Mexico border. Before that she lived in the border city of McAllen, Texas, where she worked for the daily paper The Monitor. For five years she also worked in the Texas Senate as the communications director for Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and as a policy analyst focusing on health and the environment. Since 2018, Melissa has worked as an independent investigative reporter, and her work has been featured in ProPublica, The New York Times Magazine, and The Intercept. She is a Lannan Reporting Fellow with Type Investigations. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty. Born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, California, Melissa recently ate her first Sonoran hotdog and is completely enamored with the tropical Sonoran Desert, but her first love will always be Texas-Mexican food.
Todd Miller has researched and written about border issues for more than two decades, the last 10 as an independent journalist and writer. He is a longtime resident of Tucson, Arizona, but also spent many years living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico, and grew up in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region (yes, a long-suffering Bills fan), staring across the US border into Canada. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TomDispatch, The Nation, The San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English, among others. Todd has authored four books: Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World without Borders (City Lights, 2021); Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border around the World (Verso, 2019); Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights, 2014); and Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration and Homeland Security (City Lights, 2017), which was awarded the 2018 Izzy Award for Excellence in Independent Journalism. He’s a contributing editor on border issues for NACLA Report on the Americas. He’s also a Scorpio, which at least partially explains the logo.
Todd and Melissa on a recent trip to Nogales, Arizona, next to one of the last of the border’s pay phones (remember those!?) Also note the Border Patrol agent and a friendly roadrunner looking over their shoulders.