The Breakthrough: A Reporter Crosses Borders to Uncover Labor Abuse

*This is very good investigative work. VL


By Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica (2.5 minute read) 

The men on the mountain road in rural Guatemala looked to have averted disaster. Their truck was teetering on a mountainside, but they’d kept it from toppling over with a rig of ropes and tree branches.

Reporter Michael Grabell in Guatemala (Hector Emanuel, special to ProPublica)

When ProPublica reporter Michael Grabell came upon the scene, he saw a solution to a different sort of problem.

He had been in Guatemala for days, searching for people who had worked for an infamous North Carolina-based chicken company called Case Farms. But until then, he hadn’t had much luck. So he and his driver pulled over to ask the men if they knew of the company. The move worked.

As it turned out, many of the men had worked for Case Farms and knew others who could help Grabell with his story.

It was one of those rare breaks that can make reporting such an adventure, a gamble that can pay off with the right amount of persistence, quick thinking and, sometimes, pure luck.

Grabell wrote about the scene in his recent story for ProPublica and the New Yorker “Sold for Parts,” which shows how Case Farms took advantage of immigrant workers and used America’s laws to silence them when they pushed for better working conditions and medical care.

Today he tells us how he reported the story on The Breakthrough, the ProPublica podcast where investigative reporters reveal how they nailed their biggest stories.

Have an idea for an episode? Email us your suggestions at [email protected].

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

The music for this podcast is from Blue Dot Sessions.

This article was originally published in ProPublica



Joachim Pietsch/Wikimedia 

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

The moment Florida cops pull over an Afro-Latina and find she’s the State Attorney

Victor Landa July 13, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco Patrol cops in  Orlando, Florida, stopped a white sedan recently becasue they ran the tags and didn’t get a return, plus, the tint on the windows […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]

Remembering Gus Garcia, Mexican-American Civil Rights Pioneer

Victor Landa July 27, 2017

By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News (7.5 minute read)   In his heyday, Gus Garcia cut a dashing figure in Texas legal and social circles. He was a key member […]

Cornbread: A Texas Mexican Recipe

Victor Landa June 30, 2017

What is NewsTaco? NewsTaco provides innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world. We value feedback from our readers, feel free to […]

The Literal Whitewashing of Chicago’s Latino Murals

NewsTaco June 22, 2017

*For some this is progress, for others it’s displacement. At a deeper level it’s erasing culture. VL NewsTaco CULTURE THURSDAY By Andrea Penman-Lomeli, Citylab (3.5 minute read)   Iconic images—of […]