The 6-year-old online Border Life magazine, Borderzine, crosses another milestone this month with a redesign, enhanced digital features and visuals to better reflect its mission to publish rich relevant content about the borderlands by multicultural student journalists.
A few of the exciting changes include a responsive design that allows readers to easily navigate across computer platforms and mobile devices, an updated logo, new story categories covering “Immigration and Fronteras” and “Diversity and Ideas” as well as a snazzier portfolio page to showcase the multimedia journalism of our student reporters.
Here are some highlights of what we’ve added:
- At the core of the new Borderzine.com is the responsive web design, which makes the site look good across computer platforms and on mobile devices.
- We’ve updated our look with a fresh, new logo inspired by the sunrise over a Southwest landscape – the vibrant glow of a new dawn in multicultural America.
- New category sections on the home page showcase our unique and varied content. We spotlight student reporting as well as commentary from professional journalists and curated articles from other sources to inform and encourage dialogue on Border Life and diversity in news media.
- Social media buttons were added to our home page and article pages to make it more convenient for you to share, save and comment on articles, connecting our stories with your social networks.
- For multimedia fans, our multimedia stories are easier to find with the addition of video and photo gallery sections on the homepage and a link to each section in the navigation menu.
- Our Most Popular widget in the right sidebar helps you discover what other Borderzine.com readers are reading and commenting on. In our article pages, we added a Related Posts widget that brings up headlines from other stories with similar tags. It is a great way to catch some must-read stories you may have missed.
- We are proud of our students and appreciate our other contributors, so we made sure to include their photos and bios in the right sidebar so you can learn more about them when you read their stories.
- A new Special Projects category presents an interesting archive of specialty reporting packages produced by Borderzine as well as the work of affiliate programs such as Journalism in July and the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy.
- We’ve made it easier than ever for you to connect to us with links to how to support our mission, sign up for our newsletter and learn more about Borderzine.
A diverse and relevant media starts here
While these changes are pretty cool and long overdue, Borderzine’s success is evident in the number and quality of student produced stories – more than 1,000 articles since 2008.
Our reporters have covered provocative and relevant stories about national topics such as the status of immigration reform, unaccompanied minors from Central America, the impact of crime and drug violence on Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, and domestic violence protections for undocumented women. They’ve tackled regional topics such as tuberculosis, diabetes, bilingual education, and issues of language and identity, all from their unique bicultural perspective. They’ve also produced lighter fare: profiles of artists, boxers, businesspersons, politicians and human rights leaders on both sides of the Rio Grande.
In addition, this year we’re hoping to boost readership (currently at about 18,000 unique monthly visits to the site) by launching a strong social media campaign implemented by students in communication fields like public relations and media production. Borderzine’s new digital media editor, veteran web journalist Kate Gannon, will direct their efforts to spread our content and message far and wide.
As if all this weren’t keeping us busy enough, we’re gearing up for summer internship season to help place half a dozen or more multimedia student journalists in two-month internships at news media outlets across the country, thanks to sponsors such as Scripps Howard Foundation and community members, some of them UT El Paso employees, who donated nearly $3,000 last fall to our internship placement program. Recent UTEP journalism grads have completed successful internships at diverse news outlets in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Antonio, Dallas, Los Angeles and many others.
In May, UTEP will again host the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy for 12 professors from Hispanic Serving Institutions and the 13th season of Journalism in July, another Dow Jones sponsored residential workshop, for 20 of this region’s top high school journalists.
And the beat goes on
But not without first thanking current and former Borderzine staff; UTEP faculty (especially professor Eli Garcia and his public relations students); Communication Department Chair Dr. Stacey Sowards and administrative assistants Rosie Antillon and Teresa Yañez; and the design team at the El Paso ad agency Eureka!, who helped us bring our redesign vision to fruition. You’ve all helped keep Borderzine looking fresh and feeling vibrant and committed to reporting across all media platforms the often untold or unreported stories of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.