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Staff Picks: Murder City

"Rope" by Alice Leora Briggs. From her book Dreamland: The Way out of Juarez with text by Charles Bowden

Journalist Charles Bowden spent some 15 years writing about Ciudad Juarez, witnessing what he calls the collapse of a society. Bowden joins Doug to talk about his book “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.”

RadioWest divider.

The journalist Charles Bowden passed away in 2014. He spent some 15 years writing about Ciudad Juarez, and he witnessed what he describes as the collapse of a society. In 2009, there were 2,600 murders in Juarez. That’s up from 300 in 2007. Houses sit empty. Jobs have disappeared, and drug cartels hold the city in their grip. Bowden joins Doug to talk about his book “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields.”  

On Friday, August 30th, Ken Sanders Rare Books is hosting a celebration of Charles Bowden's life. You'll find details here.

Here's what KUER's managing news editor Elaine Clark has to say about the episode:

Charles Bowden never shied away from the hard stuff. We had the chance to talk to him seven times, and the last time was about his book that chronicled the crisis in Ciudad Juarez. He never blinked and he never sugar-coated the truth. The most important thing I learned from Bowden, though, was in an email – some advice he gave me about writing: "Here are the two essentials: love and a willingness to fail. Without love you cannot become other people and crawl inside their strange lives. And unless you are willing to fail, you choke before you begin and do safe and easy and limited and pointless things. After that, it is simply improvisation."


Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.