Covering the Changing
American West

Dog and writer. Photo: Kathy McCraine

Good climate change stories have compelling characters. Photo: Anya Nova Metcalfe

Investigative Journalist

Terry has covered Arizona for over 25 years. During her 14 years as an investigative reporter for Phoenix New Times, she was named Arizona Journalist of the Year three different times. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Slate, The National Journal, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Salon.com, High Country News, and Arizona Highways, among other publications. Terry has been honored with more than 50 journalism awards, including the 2010 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, which she won with a Village Voice team of writers.

Storyteller and Author

Terry likes to write about people who live right next door, in hidden worlds. She immersed herself in the closed communities of Arizona’s undocumented immigrants and their tormentors to write Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone. She wrote the book because no human being is illegal. Instead a human being is a human being, with character assets and character flaws, and each human being has a fascinating story.

The book has been or is used as a textbook at Goucher College, Arizona State University, Marshall University, South Central College, St. Olaf's College and Northern Arizona University. Terry speaks with classes that use her text.

Contact Terry

Teacher

Terry is writer in residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University's Phoenix campus, where she teaches narrative journalism. She is a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Connect With Terry



Read Terry's book: Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone
Learn about the book

Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone

No human being is illegal. Each human being has a fascinating story.

What a vivid portrayal of the Arizona immigrant underground. Illegal is not afraid to show the bad decisions immigrants make along with their resilience and strength of spirit. This is the total picture, a heartbreaking one in a state that has chosen to demonize its Mexican residents.

-- Tony Ortega, editor in chief, The Village Voice

Buy the book

WRITING

The Handcuffing of Sheriff Joe

The Handcuffing of Sheriff Joe

02/08/2014 The National Journal Magazine

His story is rooted in the nation’s failure to address immigration reform.

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A Teacher’s Story

A Teacher’s Story

16/07/2014 AlJazeera America

Beyond the glamor of the David and Goliath battle to win a robotics contest, there are years of struggle.

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One Child’s Journey from Central America to the Arizona Desert

One Child’s Journey from Central America to the Arizona Desert

10/07/2013 Newsweek

This is a story about one Central American child’s trip to the Arizona desert.

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A larger archive of Terry's work will be available soon.

Updates from Terry

Terry's Blog

Border Patrol Transparency and 9/11

Border Patrol Transparency and 9/11

About 10 years ago, in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a Border Patrol officer told me he feared post 9/11 “surges” in hiring at the agency would have shattering  consequences, inadvertently luring bad recruits into the Border Patrol. Now the fired Customs and Border Protection  Internal Affairs Commissioner, James Tomsheck, has become a whistleblower. He blames post […]

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Charles Bowden Dead

Charles Bowden Dead

This is the best video clip I’ve found of Charles Bowden, the Arizona writer who died recently. He was enormously talented, generous and angry. His life worked, but didn’t work, and in the end, he died just as we all will die.

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The Handcuffing of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The Handcuffing of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Washington’s gridlock over fixing the nation’s immigration system enabled Arizona’s rogue laws, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s enforcement of them. The courts had the last say. Here’s the story for The National Journal Magazine.  

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CONTACT

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No human being is illegal. Instead a human being is a human being, with character assets and character flaws, and each human being has a fascinating story. Terry Greene Sterling