The Story Behind NPR’s ‘A Changing Frontier’ Series

While surfing the Internet the other day for diversity-related stories, I came across National Public Radio’s five-part series on the U.S.-Mexican border. I was particularly struck by the way that NPR correspondent Jason Beaubien described the tension that exists between the U.S. and Mexican cities that straddle the border. They are so close geographically, but in theory, they are worlds apart.

Intrigued by the series and interested in learning more about the reporting process behind it, I e-mailed Beaubien with some questions and later talked with him on the phone. When I asked him to sum up his series in one word, he used the same, aforementioned word that kept running through my head as I read and listened to the series: tension. “Since doing this series,” he said, “I sometimes picture the border as an elastic band that’s pulled just to the brink of snapping.”

You can read my Q&A with Beaubien on Poynter Online.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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