The Bee launched another remarkable series in November describing the plight of migrant workers, known as pineros, who toil under a U.S. government program that takes care of our forests. "The Pineros: Men of the Pines" by reporter Tom Knudson and photographer Hector Amezcua exposes these guest workers' dangerous jobs, miserable conditions and low pay. To learn about the pineros, Amezcua and Knudson read 5,000 pages of records obtained using the Freedom of Information Act and conducted more than 150 interviews across the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala. The interactive Web package includes photos by Amezcua, snapshots of guest workers who have died on the job, video interviews with pineros, and links to documents that reveal government indifference to working conditions.
This series has already won a bunch of awards, and the Bee continues to update it as legislation dealing with the forestry program moves through Congress. Thanks to loyal friend Alysia Tate, publisher of The Chicago Reporter, for suggesting this series to me.