In July, Reuters was alone in reporting that Donald Trump’s companies have sought visas to import at least 1,100 foreign workers since 2000. Data analyzed by Reuters showed that nine companies majority-owned by Trump have sought to bring in foreign waitresses, cooks and other laborers. The news comes as Trump has emerged as an early front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. He has positioned himself as a champion of American workers whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal foreign laborers and the offshoring of U.S. jobs.
The story, by Reuters journalists Mica Rosenberg, Ryan McNeill, Megan Twohey and Michelle Conlin, was widely cited by press, including CBS News, USA Today, Fortune, the Hill and the Daily Beast, among many others.
In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Mica offers a behind-the-scenes look at how they landed the scoop.
How did you score this Donald Trump companies exclusive?
Mica Rosenberg: This story came together in just one day after we rushed to follow up on a tip from a source. Working with data journalist Ryan McNeill, we combed through a financial disclosure document that mapped out the complicated ownership structures of all the businesses in Donald Trump’s sprawling empire and then were able to find out how many foreign workers his companies have imported over the years and for what kinds of jobs.
What was the hardest part about reporting the foreign workers story?
Mica: Probably the hardest part was working fast with some technically difficult data, in order to publish something right away that could make an impact in a fast-moving election. We worked late into the night, calling contacts in the campaign and double checking facts to get the story out.
Why did you think this was an important story to tell our readers and clients?
Mica: Donald Trump has made a name for himself in this campaign by singling out illegal immigrants and championing American jobs, but this story got behind the rhetoric to reveal how he actually operates as a businessman.
What makes you passionate about journalism?
Mica: I love learning new things every day and working with incredible colleagues like Ryan, Megan Twohey and Michelle Conlin and all the other great Reuters journalists I have collaborated with over the years. One of the best things about being a journalist is having the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with everyone from CEOs of major companies to gang members in jail and all kinds of people in between, giving each a space to tell their side of the story.
What is your beat and what do you find most fulfilling about it?
Mica: Most recently, I have been covering labor and immigration on the legal team at Reuters, a great subject that allows me to explore not just the lives of everyday people but also the inner-workings of major corporations and the overall global economy. I also enjoy bringing my experience from many years working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Latin America to my daily reporting.
What have been your most rewarding and most difficult experiences as a journalist?
Mica: The most difficult moments have been reporting on tragedies like natural disasters or incidents of violence where people have lost loved ones or find themselves all of a sudden in terrible situations. But I am always surprised by how most people are so generous with their time and eager to share their experiences. The most rewarding moments are when you work really hard to find out something unique and can share it with the world.
Can you imagine being anything other than a journalist? If so, what?
Mica: I think I am in my dream profession, but in another life maybe I would like to be a marine biologist or an archaeologist.
This post originally ran on Reuters Best.
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