Photography staff of Reuters
On the migrant trail to America
By Sue Morrow, Editor, News Photographer
News Photographer spoke with Adrees Latif and Claudia Daut in May over the phone about the Reuters Pulitzer entry “On the Migrant Trail to America.” They were unwavering about the importance of teamwork in reporting such a logistically challenging story that grew into a global political story.
Latif, who won the 2008 Pulitzer for breaking news photography from Myanmar, started working along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas in May 2018. In June, he began a new role as enterprise editor focusing on global stories and editing packages for Reuters.
Daut is based in Mexico City as the photo editor for Latin America and has been with Reuters over 20 years as chief photographer for Mexico and Central America.
“It took communication and trust and confidence and working together across borders and time zones,” Latif said. “We even had photographers all the way from Asia and Europe that participated in coverage. It was a true team effort and we are happy as a team to be recognized by this honor.”
In the midst of keeping up with the migrants in the middle of nowhere, finding places for people to sleep and eat required monumental coordination to take care of staff.
“Claudia did an amazing job and I don’t think she slept for months,” Latif said.
Daut demurred, insisting that she had help with logistics.
“I had help because it would have been quite impossible to edit and plan and care for other details. ... Someone runs out of this (supplies) and you have to make sure they get it,” she explained. “People move all the time and it’s very physical for photographers as well, so you had to make sure they were resting, that they were safe,” Daut said.
“But it did work and I think it was great because everyone was so, so dedicated to this (story).”
Asked if any one photograph stood out, Latif found it a tough question to answer. Having edited more than 10,000 images made by 20 photographers, including himself, he insisted that the story as a whole was greater than the sum of all the images.
“I think the most amazing thing about this particular entry is that there are so many single strong moments,” Latif said.
He mentally ticked off several images that stood out and did land on one.
“And then you have that picture at the San Diego border with the mother and two daughters – her pulling her two daughters after they are being teargassed – I’d say if I had to pull one picture to highlight it would be that image. It’s an incredible moment – you have the border in the background, you have parts of the wall, you have migrants trying to get into the U.S., they’re being teargassed, they are barefoot in diapers and it’s an incredible moment,” he said. Then added, “We had a lot of those in this entry and that’s what makes this entry particularly strong. You just didn’t have one single extremely strong moment but you had a number of them.” ■