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KRWG-TV documentary wins regional Emmy

"Crossing," a documentary produced by KRWG-TV staff members and students, won a regional Emmy award for "Best Topical Documentary - 2005/2006." The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the award Oct. 7 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Ricardo Trujillo, KRWG-TV producer/director, with a regional Emmy he won for producing "Crossing," a documentary about illegal border crossings. (NMSU photo by Ben La Marca)

The documentary chronicles the rash of illegal border crossings between Columbus, N.M., and southwestern New Mexico's bootheel that led to Gov. Richardson's declaration of a state of emergency in 2005. The Minutemen, community activists who opposed the Minutemen, U.S. Border Patrol and coyotes (human smugglers) are featured.

The program will be rebroadcast on KRWG-TV at 9 p.m. Oct. 31.

KRWG-TV, licensed to New Mexico State University, competed against other stations in New Mexico, West Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Producer Ricardo Trujillo said he was responsible for the program's content, script and direction, including determining who was interviewed. Former public television professional Manuel Machuca also served as producer; Bill Grigaliunas, former NMSU interim director of broadcasting, was executive producer; J.D. Jarvis was production manager; and Micaela Maestas, Nancy Moya and Gadi Schwartz were the student producers. Dale Sonnenberg of Tijeras Films edited the program.

Trujillo said one of the biggest challenges in producing the documentary was getting the Minutemen to talk.

"They distrusted PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)," Trujillo said. "They saw PBS as too liberal. But after investing time and energy with them and being a good listener, things got better and they opened up."

Producing social issues documentaries like "Crossing" requires patience, he said, adding that producers "cannot be single-minded or use embellishments, trick editing or narration that can be perceived as biases."

The crew worked on the documentary from August 2005 to February 2006.

"After Governor Richardson declared a state of emergency last August, I knew I had a story," Trujillo said. "We traveled to the notorious border crossing town of Las Chepas, across from the Johnson Farm near Hachita, N.M. We observed hundreds of people waiting for nightfall so they could cross the border. Also, we interviewed a coyote who sneaked in 200-300 people a night near Las Chepas."

He called the documentary "a testament to the quality that can emanate from KRWG-TV."

"My hope is that NMSU will continue to fund field documentaries and see that they play an important part in the outreach mission of local public television," he said.

Glen Cerny, director of university broadcasting, quoted Fred Rogers, better known as PBS mainstay "Mr. Rogers," on the role of public television, which "was created to serve those who, way down deep, yearn for what matters ultimately in life."

"In a world of reality television, it is refreshing for KRWG-TV to present a program that truly deals with real issues," Cerny said.

KRWG-TV is the PBS affiliate for southwestern New Mexico and West Texas and can be seen in Las Cruces and Dona Ana County, Deming, Truth or Consequences, Alamogordo, Lordsburg, Silver City and the Gila, and El Paso.