During a challenging year for traditional news media, Borderzine has good news and important milestones to share with readers and supporters. Several new academic and business partnerships will mean publication of more journalism content and personal voces on the topic of borders, be they geographic, personal, political or cultural. With the new partners coming on board, we also anticipate more traffic for the site and increased national visibility for this multimedia bilingual website housed at the University of Texas at El Paso. These accomplishments should also increase credibility for our mission to showcase the best of student journalism about borders while helping to prepare the next generation of multimedia news professionals, and getting recruiters to take notice of student talent with an eye to offering them internships and jobs. Two years after its launch, Borderzine is moving forward on various fronts.
On to specifics:
New partner schools. Borderzine.com has forged new academic partnerships with The University of Texas-Panamerican in Edinburg, TX, East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, and Imperial Valley College in El Centro, California. (Read about IVC journalism instructor Gina Germani’s eye-opening move from newsroom to classroom on borderzine.flywheelsites.com.) Students from these partner schools will also contribute regularly to the webzine, with additional partner schools from the borderlands, Mexico and other parts of the nation expected to join the consortium in 2010.
More content. Additional partner schools mean more unique student voices for Borderzine, bringing us closer to a goal of publishing more than 100 student contributions a year.
UPIU.com partnership. At the annual conference of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Puerto Rico this summer, we cemented a formal relationship with this national journalism education website to share content and cross list our websites. In addition, experienced UPIU.com editors will provide editing assistance in Spanish and English and internships to Borderzine students.
Switch to WordPress. We have migrated to WordPress content management system for a new look and increased functionality, including greater ease of submitting print, digital images and video from the Borderzine site.
Mentor coaches. Inauguration of a list of mentor/coaches to work one-one-one with Borderzine students to help them develop, report, write and create multimedia content for their news features. If you wish to participate as a Borderzine mentor-coach, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multimedia technology. Borderzine students at UTEP work out of a recently renovated Mac-equipped multimedia lab in the Cotton Memorial Communication building and, thanks to support from the Scripps Howard Foundation, have access to technology for their multimedia projects, including Canon and Nikon digital cameras, and Canon and Flip video recorders. Students from our partner schools also have access to computers and multimedia technology, through their colleges.
PR blitz. To spread the word about Borderzine and the terrific multimedia journalism work being produced by Latino students and others, we are preparing to launch a local, regional and national PR and advertising campaign over the next 12 months. Two advertising classes in UTEP’s Department of Communication are helping to develop the campaign, with guidance by professors Dr. Ken Yang and Eli Garcia, and support from Borderzine intern and PR student Alejandra Acosta and web advertising guru Lisa Garibay. This team effort will include events at various locations as well as virtual events on the website. A hint about the campaign’s theme: borders as frontiers.
There’s more cool stuff coming down the pipeline – including multimedia workshops next summer – still in the planning stages. In the meantime, keep checking out borderzine.flywheelsites.com to see what’s new, and join us on Facebook and Twitter, where students are tweeting about the first-ever Drug War Policy conference at UTEP.
Zita Arocha, director