Interview with 6-year-old victim of drive-by shooting wins DFMie for Taryn Walker

Headline: Recovering at home: 6-year-old Emma Hernandez says she never felt the bullet that struck her arm
Outlet: Carlsbad Current-Argus
Journalist: Taryn Walker
Tags: ,

An interview with a 6-year-old victim of a drive-by shooting won the January DFMie for the Texas/New Mexico cluster for Taryn Walker of the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

Cluster Editor Bob Moore explained the story in his nomination:

Drive-by shootings are seen as a big city problem, but they occur in small towns, too. When a child was shot in such a crime in Carlsbad, the Current-Argus used Facebook and Twitter to quickly update the community, then followed the story with text and video.

Judges applauded the result:

What a riveting interview with a six-year-old. Little Emma is a voice for the voiceless — other innocent six-year-olds, on the other side of the country, who were also shot but didn’t survive to tell their story. Walker clearly succeeded in creating a sense of rapport and trust, so that Emma and her family felt comfortable sharing their experience in front of a camera. No small feat. (p.s. Love the photo.)

In the article, Walker’s matter-of-fact recounting of the incident added to its impact – an ordinary sleep turned nightmarish by an out-of-nowhere bullet. (Also: Useful to read that arrests had been made.) It is a great glimpse of the collateral and unintended damage caused by our relationship with firearms. The video was compelling because it shows where the bullet landed in Emma’s room – and her recount of that night. Seeing and hearing the six-year-old describe what happened physically — and how it impacted her, emotionally — was heartbreaking.

Emma Hernandez photo by Taryn Walker

Emma Hernandez photo by Taryn Walker

Other finalists in the Tex/Mex cluster were James Staley of the Las Cruces Sun-News for a story about the boom in concealed-weapon permits and Jenny Kane of the Daily Times in Farmington, N.M., for a story about the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act on adoptions of Navajo children.

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