Conover to speak about ‘Coyotes’

By Kelly McKee Shawn Rice
November 4, 2004

Courtesy of

Observing was not enough. To really understand something it must be experienced; it must be lived. Walk a day in another’s shoes, Ted Conover walked for a year. Some call it participatory journalism, Conover calls it living.

Ted Conover will visit the college as the main speaker for Cabrini Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. The award-winning writer will speak on his views on immigration most specifically his book, “Coyotes,” his experiences and his form of participatory journalism.

Conover said, “Living in other people’s shoes is something every journalist has to do, now and then, if only to conduct a good interview. This extended immersion is often uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically, but the rewards can be great.”

“The final paradox of the borderlands: nowhere are we more alike than at the line that demarcates our difference.” Conover has walked this line, breathing and sweating as an illegal immigrant. Walking across deserts, hiding from the law, scared, alone and anonymous. Living what he felt was the life of a “true, modern-day incarnation of the classic American hobo.”

With fair hair and blue eyes, this Colorado native couldn’t have been more conspicuous if he had of worn an over-sized sombrero. But Conover was determined to possess the character of these people. To educate on the risks and trials immigrants accept, in their quest for a better life. To do this through his writing.

“I’ve been asked to come to Cabrini and speak about immigration, social justice, and my experiences with undocumented Mexican immigrants for my book, Coyotes. So I’ll be talking about immigration as it pertains to that book, my own family, my neighborhood, and my country,” Conover said.

“Coyotes,” winner of the American Library Association award, explores the lives of the illegal Mexican immigrants that reside the United States. Conover has written for the New Yorker and is a current contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine.

Dr. Charles McCormick, dean of academics affairs, said, “Conover aestheticizes human struggles in everyday life. In doing so, he
humanizes his subjects and builds connections with people.”

According to Conover’s website, “I don’t like to categorize my subject matter, except to say that my favorite kind of story is one that others have overlooked. Not that I like “small” stories, but I like to find people whose lives matter more than they might think, or more than others think.”

For more information about Cabrini Day speaker Ted Conover, please visit his website at

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Kelly McKee Shawn Rice

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