Since 2021, investigative reporter Caitlin Dickerson has reported on migration for The Atlantic from three continents and dozens of American cities. In September 2022, she published a piece in The Atlantic titled “We Need to Take Away Children: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Family-Separation Policy.” The breakthrough story dug deep into the behind-the-scenes workings of the Trump-era family-separation policy, uncovering how the government came to the point of tearing children away from their families as a way to deter immigration—and who was responsible for it. It took 18 months to investigate and report the story—during which Dickerson conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed thousands of legal documents—and it eventually became one of the longest stories published by the magazine.
Dickerson previously spent nearly five years as a reporter at The New York Times and five years as a producer and reporter for NPR. She is a Peabody and Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, and a three-time finalist for the Livingston Award. She is currently writing a book for Random House about the systemic impact of deportation on American society.
About The Atlantic
Since 1857, The Atlantic has been a magazine of ideas—a home to the best writers and boldest minds, who bring clarity and original thinking to the most important issues of the current times. Through its journalism, The Atlantic aims to help readers better understand the world and its possibilities as they navigate the complexities of daily life. In 2022, The Atlantic earned the top honor for magazines, General Excellence, at the National Magazine Awards; earned its second Pulitzer Prize in as many years; and was named Digiday’s Publisher of the Year.
Learn more about The Atlantic here.
When you look back in five years, what do you hope you and your organization have accomplished?
In five years, I hope The Atlantic and I have helped strengthen our democracy by arming readers with the information they need to participate from a position of knowledge. Specifically, through deeply reported and nuanced writing that doesn’t reach for simplistic answers, or good guys or bad guys, I hope to infuse the national political debate over immigration, economics, race, and history with facts, and to dispel fearmongering and falsehoods that are used to score political points, but that mislead, rather than inform.
How is the changing climate impacting your work?
Climate change is one of the driving forces of global migration, contributing to a massive and growing population of refugees. By reporting on those individuals and their circumstances, as well as the communities that choose to receive them or not, my work may help prompt policymakers to respond to global displacement and inform readers about its root causes and likely trajectory.