Lesson Plans

Why Does Convergence Journalism Make a Story More Powerful?


Family and friends gather around the body of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was killed by a Border Patrol agent. Image by Dominic Bracco. Mexico, 2011.


Nine-year-old Lisette leans over the coffin of her mother, Rosalia Esther Vazquez, at their home outside of Ciudad Juarez. The mother was killed in a massacre of factory workers commuting home from work. Gunmen entered the bus and fired randomly, killing five people and injuring more. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Esteban Ruiseco practices the clarinet. Image by Dominic Bracco. Mexico, 2011.


The scene of a young murdered couple. The woman was far into her pregnancy. The couple's heads touched in a last embrace. A single bullet entered the man's skull and took all three lives. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A young girl prepares for her 15th birthday party, a coming of age party known as a "quinceañera". Her family spent most of their savings on making it a happy occasion. Her father had recently lost his job and was making ends meet by making repairs to homes in the neighborhood. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A group of young men catch a ride in the back of a car to their friends funeral in one of the poorer areas of Ciudad Juarez. The 15-year-old boy, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, was shot by a US Border Patrol agent. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A family celebrates a birthday. Family parties like these have been the scene of large massacres. In October 2010 gunmen came to a birthday party and massacred 14 young people. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Family and friends attend the funerals of three female victims of a massacre that left 14 dead and over a dozen wounded at a birthday in Ciudad Juarez.. Most of the victims were between the ages of 14 and 20. They were herded into a corner of the house and executed. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A young boy keeps warm by a fire in the Diaz Ordaz colonia, one of the oldest maquila worker settlements in the city. After the passing of several free trade agreements between the US and Mexico, hundreds of thousands of immigrants left their poor villages in search for better jobs in the factories in Juarez. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Denise watches lights go by outside the back window of a van. Her family is from Mexico City and moved to Juarez because of domestic violence in the family. Now the family has considered returning to Mexico City because of violence in Juarez. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


From right, "Pollo," 19, and his wife Liz, 18, try to get their daughter to stop crying. Pollo left his neighborhood after a rival gang killed several friends and began seeking him out. Now Pollo works in a factory insulating steel cables and makes about $50 a week. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A family decorated their home in this predominately factory worker neighborhood on the fringes of the city. Many homes are abandoned, as hundreds of thousands have fled the city due to violence and lack of jobs. Low wages and expensive transit costs have made these communities very isolated from the rest of the city infrastructure. The region is now mostly controlled by the Sinaloa cartel. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Los Novenos get high on marijuana and paint thinner on the soccer fields in their neighborhood. The most vulnerable social group is "Los Ninis," young men and women who earned their name from the phrase "ni estudian, ni trabajan"—those who neither work nor study. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A couple dances at a gang affiliated party. With infrastructure damaged from the drug war and few opportunities for work, Ciudad Juarez's youth often turn to crime to make ends meet. This gang has tried hard to keep out of the larger war, but neighboring barrios continue to try to control their barrio for extortion and to sell drugs. They have been associated with at least one vigilante killing. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Residents of Ciudad Juarez take to the streets to protest the shooting of a student by a Federal Police officer days before. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Lidia consoles her daughter Denise. Lidia and her family were forced to leave their home after members of their neighborhood retaliated against a rival gang. Lidia had left Mexico City for Ciudad Juarez to flee an abusive spouse. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Novenos get stoned at a friend's house. The Novenos have suffered three murders in the last year in conflicts with rival gangs. Most of these gang members never made it to middle school because the tuition was too high. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Blood stains the doorstep of a home where three men were executed. A witness claimed these men were "puchadores"—low level street dealers. Drug wars have claimed nearly 10,000 lives in the city as droves of young people have been given arms to use against rival gangs. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Friends and relatives try to revive a woman after she fainted from heat exhaustion during a midday funeral for a young man. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A masked Mexican Federal Police officer looks over two detained alleged Azteca hitmen. The Azteca gang is controlled by the Juarez Cartel and functions much like a military. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A guard dog stretches the length of his chain in front of the home of a family of factory workers in Juarez. Random violence is common in Juarez. Locals live in fear of car jackings and home robberies that often end in murder. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


Family and friends gather around the body of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15, who was killed by a Border Patrol agent. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.


A view of one of the poorest regions of Ciudad Juarez made up primarily of factory workers employed by foreign companies. This settlement was created after thousands came to Juarez from other regions of Mexico in search of jobs. Later these neighborhoods would become home to some of the first gangs that later would be responsible for distributing drugs for the Juarez Cartel. This picture is overlooking the Noveno territory. Image by Dominic Bracco II. Mexico, 2011.

Step 1:

Convergence Journalism is bringing together multiple forms of media to tell a more effective story. Rather than just reading an article in a newspaper, news consumers read the article online, scroll through a slideshow, click on a video link, and then listen to the related audio.

The Missouri School of Journalism recently created a new Convergence Journalism program, based on three basic principles:

1. The public increasingly wants to access quality news and information at any time through any and all media that are convenient or appealing to them.

2. The audience for news and information is less passive than it used to be. Many people, especially younger people, want to create, respond to, and interact with media. This desire has led to emerging “citizen journalists.” Full­time journalists need to accept this power shift and take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

3. Convergence training should not be “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Young journalists will not be equally adept at all storytelling styles and skills, but each student will have the opportunity to focus in on their desired field. Each student can still be effective in their desired field while understanding and taking advantage of changes in the media landscape.

What do you think about these three principles? Do they seem in line with your understanding of modern journalism? It might seems daunting to have to do it all, and it is, but it’s possible. Today we will start exploring some of the world’s hot, young journalists who are practicing convergence journalism. Dominic Bracco received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to report on the young people in Juarez, Mexico. He packaged his reporting in a project called Los Ninis: Mexico’s Lost Generation. Let’s take a look.

Step 2:

Read: 9/11 Border Security Leads to Crime Increase in Mexico

Mexico’s Changing Psyche

Watch: A Clarinet Instead of a Gun

Look:  Life and Death in the Northern Pass

Listen: The War Next Door (the segment is 48 minutes, but you can listen to the first 10­-15)

Step 3:

Answer the following questions:

­Which medium did you find more informative? Why?

­Which medium did you find most enjoyable? Why?

­Which medium did you find most powerful? Why?

­Why does convergence (putting all of these medium together on one site) make this story more powerful?


­Work in small groups and brainstorm a story you can report on using at least three different forms of media.

­Allow students to explore another Pulitzer project on their own.

Educator Notes: 

Objective: To introduce journalism students to the concept of convergence.

Essential Question: Why does convergence journalism make a story more powerful?


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