‘Radio documentary production and critical ethnography: the making of La Frontera’

‘La Frontera’ is a 48 minute radio documentary produced and broadcast in 2010 for the ABC, which puts together the pieces in regards to the conflict engulfing the Mexico/United States border. I argue that the journalistic practices engaged in to produce this feature constitute a reflexive form of critical ethnography. In this presentation I want to explain and reflect on some of the major contradictions that making ‘La Frontera’ revealed, and the practices I engaged in to make a cognitive map in sound. In theorizing journalistic practices I want to contend that documentaries made for the medium of radio can be a powerful and even transformative form of knowledge production – with a potentially a global audience.

Colm McNaughton