DEL RIO, Texas (Border Report) — At just 14, Phoenix Legg is already a well-rounded, experienced reporter who was by far the youngest member of the press corps in Del Rio, Texas, this past week.
Phoenix and his father, Matt Legg, of Dallas, had been in El Paso when the migrant surge under the Del Rio International Bridge broke. And like a good reporter, he wanted to go.
But he doesn’t drive yet. So he convinced his dad to gas up their old RV and they headed to the remote border town where he was a popular fixture at the daily afternoon news conferences, mashing in with reporters from CNN, FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald.
He couldn’t help but get noticed, especially on Sept. 17, when in triple-digit heat and high Texas sun, young Phoenix passed out just as Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano was speaking.
The throng of media rushed to give him water and helped him cool down. Someone helped him to his feet and he brushed it off with a smile.
When Phoenix returned for the next day’s news conference — which was now moved to beneath a shady structure — he was dressed in a cooler white short-sleeve shirt and cowboy hat, and he didn’t tip backward.
The incident didn’t stop him from reporting all week, however.
And on Monday, he managed to snag the last question when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas came to Del Rio and gave a press conference.
Phoenix asked him whether DHS was going to request assistance from the “DOD” for resources in Del Rio, referring to the Department of Defense.
Speaking in D.C. acronyms isn’t something most young teens master. But Phoenix isn’t like most kids.
Since the age of 9 in 2016, he says he has been a reporter actively on the road covering the presidential campaign. This past summer, he and his father traveled up and down the Southwest border to better understand immigration, he told Border Report.
His website — PhoenixRisingInAmerica.com — is full of photos of him interviewing prominent politicians in Washington, and even him with former President Donald Trump.
In the field, he wears a lanyard with a photo ID badge labeled in bright green “PRESS.”
And despite his age, no one stops him, or his father. And maybe because of his age, he seems to catch the attention of hardened politicians who stop to shake his hand and offer him an interview.
“It’s a blast. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a fun five years,” Phoenix told Border Report as he was cued up hours early with the press corps to wait for Mayorkas.
His goal, he said, is to prove that there is such a thing as “objective reporting,” and to prove that youth can make a difference.
“My tagline is ‘objective facts to inform,’ versus subjective opinion to influence. Because I feel that news is on both sides people trying to tell you what to think versus just telling you what’s happening, and I think that’s a big problem. And it’s not just liberal. It’s conservative. It’s both sides,” Phoenx said.
Phoenix is home-schooled by his father, who is usually behind the camera equipment, and also gives his son a nudge on when to stick his microphone in someone’s face, or to offer a business card.
Matt Legg said he used to run a healthcare company, but now he just runs around with Phoenix who already has been offered a $5,000 per year scholarship to attend the University of North Texas to study journalism.
Matt Legg, left, is Phoenix Legg’s father and cameraman and RV driver. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report) RV Photo by Phoenix Legg
They have put thousands of miles on their RV. And on Friday they were heading to McAllen, Texas, where Phoenix wanted to cover Saturday’s March to the Border to bring awareness to the human smuggling of migrant children.
Their RV air conditioner broke on Friday while they were making the 350-mile drive, but Phoenix wasn’t worried.
“We’ll probably be there in the morning,” he said.